iPhone Apps – Photosynth and Snapseed

iPhone Apps – Photosynth and Snapseed

The wonderful world of apps for your smartphone has produced thousands of apps for the photographer; some to add quirky text balloons to your pics, some to make you smile by distorting the people in your images but fortunately some provide serious horsepower to improve your images and expanding the versatilty of the smartphone camera. Photosynth and Snapseed are two of the latter and every photographer serious about using your smartphone camera needs these apps.

Photosynth is a free app designed by Microsoft to make the taking of panoramic images a breeze, and it does exactly that. You can take 360 degree panos as well as taking ‘multi-level’ panoramas meaning you can take a matrix of images and have Photosynth seamlessly stitch them together into one image. When viewed in the Photosynth viewer you can use your finger to scan from left and right and up and down within the image. It is very impressive. After saving the panorama to your photostream you can then edit and crop the image using Snapseed. Snapseed is a powerful image editor developed by NIK Software, famous for their suite of plug-ins for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. The beauty of Snapseed is that it brings NIK’s patented U-point technology to the smartphone and tablet. U-point technology allows for selective editing of brightness, contrast and saturation within an image based on the colour and texture of the part of the image you select. Besides selective editing, Snapseed performs many other essential post processing effects including, sharpening, structure, ambiance, white balance, special effect filters and even tilt shift conversions to name just a few. Snapseed costs $4.99 but I can assure you that it will become the only smartphone/tablet photo editor you will use once you have downloaded it.

Here is a photo taken earlier today of Lake Russel in the Disney Nature Conservancy south of Kissimmee Florida. This shot was captured with an iPhone 4S (8 megapixel camera) without any zoom in landscape orientation. The image is un-cropped.


Here is six shot panorama taken from the same position with Photosynth and the camera in portrait orientation. It took Photosynth less than ten seconds to seamlessly stitch the images together. The resultant picture was cropped and edited using Snapseed.


Finally, this is an eighteen image panorama taken as a 6×3 matrix. Photosynth stitched this panorama in about fifteen seconds. This image was taken from the same spot as the previous one and was processed with Snapseed.


In keeping with the theme of this blog post, it is being written and posted from Florida on an iPad 2 using the WordPress app. The photos, all taken earlier today with an iPhone 4S, showing up on the iPad via the cloud! How technology has changed over the part few years.

I would like to thank my good friend Arni who told me about Photosynth. You can see his superb photography at www.pixelz.ca

Note: After posting the blog images it became apparent that I cannot use the iPad to resize the photos as I usually do with WordPress. Please accept my apologies and I’ll fix the problem when I’m back in front of the computer. In the mean time the new technology still impresses!


  1. It is interesting that when you click on the images they actually shrink in size. The wide images make for a nice desktop background 🙂

  2. I have to say that this is the ‘biggest’ post I have ever seen. You have mastered the apps well and it is hard to believe a cellphone created these. Thanks for the plug!