How To Manipulate And Share Images With The New Google Photos

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How To Manipulate And Share Images With The New Google Photos

Imasge shows Google Photos Editing tools
There is a lot of editing power under the hood of Google Photos.

The latest version of Google Photos is quite an interesting update. In fact I reviewed it earlier. Though I talked about using the app on an Android device, there are also iPhone and iPad versions available through the Apple App store. Once you have the app installed an obvious question is:”Gee, can I manipulate and share the images in Google Photo?”  The answer is, “Absolutely. In fact, as you are about to discover, both tasks are dead simple to accomplish.”

Let’s get started.

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How To Use The Google Photos Photo Editing Interface

The Google Photos editing interface
Photos are easily edited, shared and deleted in Google Photos.

First off the interface is exactly the same for devices, tablets and desktop computers. In fact I will be using the desktop version of Google Photos for this “How To” and, if you are following along on a tablet or smartphone, you will see things are not that different among the three platforms.

To open a photo, just click or tap the thumbnail. The photo opens and the tools and options appear. They are:

  • Editing: The icon is a pencil.
  • Sharing: The iOS icon is a box with an arrow.
  • Info : Tap this to open the image’s metadata
  • Delete
  • Download: The Desktop version has a download icon that let’s you download a copy of the image to your computer.

Zooming is rather interesting. On the tablet and device versions of the app the usual Pinch-Zoom gesture works. On the desktop, there is a Magnifying Glass which you can click to Zoom In or Zoom Out. There is, in fact another quicker and more precise method of zooming. Just place you cursor over the area you wish to Zoom Into or Out of and use your scroll wheel.

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How To Color Correct A Photo In Google Photos

The color correction controls are shown.
Color correction is surprisingly robust in Google Photos.

When you tap the Pencil icon the editing tools open. A slider bar controls each tool but moving a slider from one side to the other does a lot more than change the photo. Each slider actually can do multiple jobs. The tools are:

  • Auto: On the Desktop this is a button at the top of the Editing tools. On tablets and devices the icon is a Magic Wand. With all of the choices available, I am not a huge fan of letting the software make the decisions around  color correction.
  • Light: This slider controls the Lightness and Darkness of the image. This is the simple explanation. Slide the control and the first thing to be brightened will be the highlights orn faces. Keep sliding and eventually the shadows are brightened as well.
  • Colour: Use this slider to change the color saturation in the image.
  • Pop: Think of this slider as being a “Poor Man’s” HDR feature by increasing the sharpness and bringing up detail in the image.
  • Vignette: This slider adds a circular opacity mask to the image. One very interesting aspect of this control is that the vignette is not one of the common “center-out” effects. If there is a face in the photo the effect the effect centers on it. If a person is off center so, too, will be the vignette.

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How to Use The Color Filters in Google Photos

The various filters and effects are shown.
The filters and effects are interesting but not terribly robust.

If you are an Instragram, Snapseed, Aviary or other Photo app user you are quite familiar with Filters and Effects. In the case of Google Photos, there are 14 filter effects to choose from. An interesting side note is they all have an astronomical name.

When you choose an effect it is applied and there is a slider that allows you to control the strength of the effect. If you don’t get the result you are looking for you you can always click or tap the None button to remove the filter.

Personally, I find the Filter choices to be somewhat limited and creatively confining. I also think Google recognizes this as well. If you are using a device you can save the image after making your corrections in Google Photos and then reopen the image. If you tap the Google Photos options, you will be asked if you want to open the image in Google’s Snapseed instead of Google Photos.

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How To Share Images with Google Photos

iOS screen shot of sharing options in Google Photos.
Sharing files is well beyond "Dead Simple" in Google Photos.

Sharing your photos from your device or tablet with others is beyond simple in Google Photos. Long press a photo and then simply tap any other images you want to share. Add them to an album and tap the Share icon. Copy the share link to the clipboard and send it off to your network.