Make Your Photos Pop with Google Photos

In a previous post I talked about the Motorola e5 Plus, which I purchased for my husband, and how much I like it. Although I like the phone’s performance, it wouldn’t be a good choice for me because it doesn’t have NFC and I would prefer a slightly better camera. On the other hand, the hubby loves it. It has everything he wants from a smartphone, and doesn’t mind the small trade-off with the camera.

I’m not saying the camera is bad, it should be fine for most people, it’s just not as good as what you’ll find in a more expensive phone. If you want to save money on a phone, you’re going to have to compromise some on the camera.

Base model for a Pixel 2 XL: $849.00 VS Motorola e5 Plus: $179.00

The Motorola e5 Plus is known as the Motorola e5 Supra if you get it at Cricket Wireless.

I also mentioned in my previous post that any photo taken with a less than stellar camera can be improved upon with a few simple tweaks using Google Photos or Snapseed. Since Google Photos is the easier to of the two to use, I’m going to use it for this post. You’ll be amazed by how much it can do and simple it is.

Here’s the first photo taken at Wayland Square in Providence, RI

The biggest problem with the original photo is that it looks overexposed. After a few simple adjustments, which I’ll explain below, I ended up with a photo that’s even more share-worthy than the original.

Here are the changes I made in Google Photos.

Go into Google Photos, then tap on the adjustments icon (it’s the second from the left). This will bring up what you need to make your edits.

I like to make changes to the image in stages, which is why the edits are displayed in this order.

  1. Tap on the downward pointing arrow to the right of LIGHT
  2. Adjust the exposure
  3. Make other changes to the LIGHT panel
  4. Tap on the upward pointing arrow to close the panel
  5. Tap on the downward pointing arrow to the right of COLOR
  6. Make adjustments to everything except saturation
  7. Once you have everything the way you want, play with the saturation
  8. Tap on the upward pointing arrow to close the panel
  9. Adjust the pop
  10. Tap SAVE (top, right)

While upping the saturation brings out more vibrancy to the colors, it can sometimes make the image look unnatural. This is why I think of saturation as an added boost to the other changes I already made.

I use the Pop slider similar to Saturation slider. Too much pop will make your photo look like a drawing, but just the right amount will give the image the extra oomph it may need.

Here are more before and after shots of the other images I used in the previous post. These photos are from Rosecliff Mansion in Newport, RI.

I made adjustments in Google Photos to bring out the age of the building, which got washed out in the exposure.

In step 2 of editing, I upped the Deep blue in an attempt to bring out the sky, which didn’t work as well as I’d hoped due to the sky having more gray than blue. Saturation isn’t shown because I didn’t feel the need to play with it.

As you can see below, I upped the contrast to deepen the green in the grass, then increased the blue to bring out the sky. Playing with the blue worked very well here because the sky in the original image has a lot of blue.

One of the biggest issues with the original photo are the lights, which I adjusted using the Whites and Shadows sliders. Below are the other changes I made to reach the final result.

The best way to learn how to make edits in Google Photos is to play with the adjustment sliders. You’ll learn what each slider does after playing with them for a bit. The changes will happen as you slide the dot to the left and right of the bar. Take my advice and play with the Saturation and Pop sliders last (with pop being the very last step) to add that extra oomph.

Keep in mind that the SAVE button doesn’t appear until you close both the Light and Color panels. Be sure to save your work.

Google Photos is available for iOS and Android.


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