Snapseed vs. Lightroom. In terms of mobile photo editing, which one is better? What’s the best feature of each one? How does one work better? Is one cheaper than the other?
See how the competing applications stack up in this ultimate comparison.
We’ll examine the strength of each application as far as its ability to perform photography tasks. A wide range of aspects, including interfaces, features, workflow, etc. will be assessed. In each area, we’ll rate them from one to five when we’ve examined them.
Overview of Snapseed
Nik Software first released Snapseed in 2011 as an iPad photo editing app. Google’s takeover resulted in the app being retired from desktop computers as of the end of 2013. This app has become one of the hottest for tablets and phones, despite only being available on mobile devices.
After winning Apple’s iPad App of the Year award in 2011, the software soon came to iPhones and then Android devices in 2012. PC Magazine later selected it as one of the 100 Best Android Apps of 2018.
- It has an easy-to-use interface.
- Licensed as Freeware.
- Tools that are easy to learn but take more time to master.
- For professionals, the program’s limited output formats are less than ideal.
- Not enough tools for advanced editing of photography.
- It is not compatible with desktop computers.
Overview of Lightroom
Originally, Lightroom was created as a feature added to Photoshop by Adobe. It is now an independent software program. Its non-destructive nature makes it more suitable for shifts in color and contrast than graphical editing.
Lightroom is now available for mobile and desktop environments with the same tools and interface as the desktop version (now referred to as Lightroom Classic).
- It is easier to work quickly with a well-organized interface.
- Both desktops and mobile devices are supported.
- Expert in handling projects with multiple outputs and formats.
- The program costs $9.99/month.
- Learning curve greater than Snapseed.
- Snapseed may be a little more challenging to learn than this interface.
Snapseed vs. Lightroom: At a Glance
A simpler toolset and less clutter make Snapseed an appealing application for users who require a large canvas.
Lightroom’s features have expanded significantly from its desktop days and thanks to many plugins added over the years.3.
3. Tools & Filters
As you can see, Lightroom has a variety of tools and filters to allow you more control over how you edit photos.
4. Ease of Use
The straightforward and uncomplicated interface makes Snapseed easy to use regardless of skill level.
Making mobile edits less painful in the workflow process is made possible by allowing one version of Lightroom to be used across multiple workspaces.
In terms of final renders, Lightroom offers more formats than just JPGs.
The advantage of Lightroom is that it is a desktop app as well, despite both working on iOS and Android platforms.
By default, Snapseed is the winner since it is freeware.
Lightroom’s backup is handled by Adobe with far more resources and technical support.
Even though Snapseed should work well for simple photo editing, Lightroom offers a more comprehensive and powerful solution.
With its relatively familiar user interface, Snapseed has a significant advantage. The interface is one of the most robust on the market, hiding its tools at the bottom of the screen and ready to be accessed whenever necessary.
Snapseed is a pretty comfortable application to use for those who are already familiar with the app layout inherent to both iOS and Android, making it accessible to even the most novice users without much training. Because the interface is so simple, we give it a perfect score.
Snapseed Interface: 5/5
As well as allowing more space on the screen for your photos, Lightroom has a more robust layout. In addition to the dark theme, Snapseed’s white layout is much more uncomfortable on the eyes if you spend long hours working through photos.
Lightroom’s interface usually shrinks as you experiment with its numerous color-grading features, depending on which device you are using. Both Lightroom and Lightroom Classic have limitations that you will need to learn about. As the learning curve is so minor, we deduct half a point.
Lightroom Interface: 4.5/5
As each interface has a relatively clean environment, it’s hard to decide which is the best. However, Snapseed uses a tad less screen space to give photos the most real estate and is a slightly better interface.
Snapseed is pleasantly surprising just how many features it includes for being a free app meant for newbies.
Three sections describe the features: Look, Tools, and Export. To make your edits more personalized, there are a few brushes and presets included. We deduct a point because it might be too simple.
Snapseed Features: ⅘
The features of Lightroom simply outweigh those of Snapseed. Undoubtedly, the ability to sync to the cloud sets it apart from other apps. Having your photos sync to Adobe Cloud means you don’t have to worry about transferring your work from mobile to desktop.
This technology streamlines the monotony of moving, saving, and finding photos, so they are neat and easy to locate without having to keep track of which project is where or which version is on which device.
Watermark generators and camera support are two of the latest features that appear most appealing. By placing a watermark over your completed photography, the watermark generator can help you prevent your work from being stolen.
Using this method will help you avoid being swiped when you plan on selling your work online. A watermark can protect you from that from a legal standpoint, and applying them automatically means you won’t have to put them on every photo.
Other than this, Lightroom also comes with an extra feature that isn’t exactly new but still welcome all the same.
Bringing in your photos from your professional camera means that you won’t have to do as much tweaking as you would with a consumer camera. Lightroom is therefore vital for those using high-quality cameras but want to edit them right away on their tablet or phone. Considering Lightroom’s importance, we gave it a perfect score for features.
Lightroom Features: 5/5
We haven’t even come close to winning this race. When it comes to features, Lightroom has a plethora of options that continues to expand with each new version, so Snapseed doesn’t even compete.
3. Tools & Filters
With Snapseed, you can edit your photos with 29 tools and filters. The tools include such essentials as cropping and rotating, as well as more complex ones like Healing, where you can remove unwanted items and background passersby from an image.
To add a touch of style, there are filters like grunge, noir, grainy film, and black & white. All the usual altercation tools are available such as brightness, contrast, saturation, ambiance, highlights, shadows, and warmth.
With the warmth tool, you can alter the color and tint of images to imply either a warm look for the beach or a cool look for an evening out.
Snapseed has non-destructive editing capabilities similar to Lightroom, but it comes with a few extra features that set it apart from Lightroom. With such tools, you can create styled text with 38 predefined styles and use a variety of brushes for varying effects.
Snapseed is ideally suited for consumers when they want to add captions to their social media posts. Despite its limitations, it should be able to handle most basic photography projects. However, we deducted one point because of it.
Snapseed Tools/Filters: 4/5
Although Lightroom has fewer options, its non-destructive environment offers a greater selection of options. It goes far beyond simply adjusting the brightness and contrast to add color grading to your edits.
In contrast, Lightroom’s image editing capabilities are easier to use than Snapseed’s, so you can get results relatively quickly. Lightroom gets a perfect score for its presets and brush options, along with all the other options it provides.
Lightroom Tools/Filters: 5/5
In this regard, Lightroom is undoubtedly the winner with a wide range of color editing sliders and presets. Snapseed is superior to it both in terms of options as well as ease of use. No matter if you’re using Lightroom on desktop or mobile, it has the best tools.
4. Ease of Use
In terms of using the app itself, Snapseed excels with much fewer tools that are more manageable than Lightroom. There are only a few tools, which are mostly what one would expect from a photo editing program.
The layout of the application greatly contributes to the overall user-friendliness of the program. In terms of what consumers will be seeking out most from such a program, Snapseed is fairly trim in comparison to what consumers are looking for.
For those making simple edits on their phones, Snapseed has both an intuitive interface and tools that make it a breeze to use.
A hobbyist will likely find this approach most appealing, but professionals without a lot of specific requirements may prefer the straightforward approach for completing mobile photography edits. Because of this, we recommend Snapseed.
Snapseed Ease of Use: 5/5
In the end, how easy these programs are to use depends on just what you’ll be using them for. It’s easier to keep everything organized in Lightroom.
If you are working on a high volume of images with matching edits, then syncing them all to the cloud will be of great use to you. Users don’t have to worry about micromanagement issues when it comes to keeping track of a lengthy project with Lightroom. Due to our willingness to learn, we only deduct half a point.
Lightroom Ease of Use: 4.5/5
It’s easier to recommend Snapseed because it’s more appropriate for novice photographers. You won’t have to hunt for all the tools and it takes less time to learn. Snapseed is easy to use from the get-go.
Snapseed’s workflow is comparatively simple. By loading a photo in, using filters and brushes, and rendering out the final photograph, you are able to edit your photos.
For those in a relative hurry who need the simplest of professional tweaks and have a strong understanding of where to go after they’re finished, it’s a relatively simple process. Although the workflow was rather basic and lacked innovation, a point was deducted.
Snapseed Workflow: 4/5
It comes down to the number of devices that Lightroom can support, however, that is the most important advantage that the app has in this department.
Imagine the scenario below. Take photos on your mobile device while on a photoshoot and want to edit them later. After securing your work to the cloud, you head back to your office to find what you think are finished photos.
Upon getting back to your desktop computer and inspecting it on the desktop, you notice that some details you may have missed or that the colors are not exactly what you expected.
To render out your photo again if you were working in Snapseed, you would need to go back to your smartphone. Nevertheless, Lightroom has a similar desktop version that allows you to make last-minute changes quickly before publishing the images.
When playing device tag with your project, you don’t have the time or patience to deal with notes coming in from a team.
Lightroom also offers automation capabilities for sending out your photos, which helps speed up the process.
Let’s say you are planning to upload several pictures to a website gallery, such as NextGen Gallery in WordPress. It’s possible to streamline the upload process using plugins, so you don’t have to switch between the browser and the app.
It is also possible to automate this part of the process if you have a specific printer in mind, such as Snapfish or Costco, without having to jump around outside of the program. All these customization choices make the workflow so much faster that Lightroom gets a perfect score.
Lightroom Workflow: 5/5
As a result, Lightroom is the winner by a mile in this race because it offers so many options to speed up the workflow. Professional photographers will greatly benefit from the ability to switch between desktop and mobile environments without much retooling. Lightroom is an ideal app for beginners, regardless of how they use it.
Snapseed, by contrast, has a very limited set of outputs. When your computer only reads RAW and JPG files, the only format you can output is JPG.
The format doesn’t matter if you’re creating social media and website images, but it doesn’t work well when it comes to more formal photography for print.
Snapseed remains a part of the phone’s world where photos are snapped and posted, acting as a middleman for smoother uploads.
Clearly, Snapseed’s outputs won’t bode well for photographers who wish to upload them elsewhere, but they severely limit the level of quality that can be achieved.
Lightroom’s additional formats will likely be necessary for formatting needs regardless of the output level. For simple edits, you may only need a mobile app. We deducted a half point for this limitation.
Snapseed Output: 3.5/5
Depending on your desire for compactness in file size or high-quality detail, Lightroom can export to JPEG, PNG, TIFF, WebP, PPM, PFM, and EXR. You can render HDR and panoramic images out of Lightroom Classic on a desktop if you’re willing to pay for the upgrade.
There isn’t a big price difference when you switch to Lightroom Classic (you don’t have to worry about the reduced cloud storage), so it isn’t that much of a hindrance. It may take some time to learn how to switch between the two programs. Only half a point will be deducted for this minor aspect.
Lightroom Output: 4.5/5
Occasionally, you may want to convert that expertly shot photo intended for social media into something you can submit for publication and have printed. Lightroom is therefore far more compatible with its output, regardless of whether the user is a professional or an amateur.
Snapseed and Lightroom previously appeared to compete on an even playing field as far as platforms are concerned. For Mac users, they both work with iOS, and for Android users, their systems include a wide variety of models.
The two platforms work well enough for either application, and there doesn’t seem to be a significant difference between them. While Snapseed allows you to edit your photo on the go, you need to be 100% certain your image is the way you want it before rendering it.
Snapseed is a great tool for novice photographers who only use their phones. It is not ideal for professional photographers who use multiple platforms. We deduct two points for this reason.
Snapseed Platforms: ⅗
This is one area in which Lightroom has an advantage because of its wide reach. By purchasing Lightroom, you are not just purchasing a mobile app, but also the desktop app.
A professional career in photography is so important if you want to streamline the process. Making more changes with Lightroom on your desktop computer eliminates a lot of the hassle of switching between your mobile device and desktop computer.
Since it is compatible with a variety of platforms, Lightroom is not only convenient for multiple users, but it also improves workflow. In terms of post-production photography, it means more time will be saved. In this category, Lightroom receives a perfect score because of this.
Lightroom Platforms: 5/5
As far as the ease of taking RAW editing projects between workspaces and making changes as needed, Lightroom wins the award for flexible workspaces. The limited functionality of Snapseed makes it less suited to professional photographers when it is confined to a mobile environment.
Despite its Freeware designation, SnapSeed is free to download and use. It is free to download, load, and edit your photos from your phone or mobile device.
Snapseed is an excellent free app, even if it is limited to mobile devices. Our perfect score on the pricing aspect of the program is easy to understand.
Snapseed Pricing: 5/5
There are no free versions of Lightroom, and it is a subscription product. You can choose from a few different versions of the application.
Users pay $9.99 per month if they would like to only purchase the Lightroom application. Additionally, 1TB of cloud storage is included with the plan.
A complete photography package is included in the next tier, in addition to Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop. Lightroom Classic features HDR and panoramic displays that will improve the quality of your projects.
If you wish to add more detailed information to your photos, Lightroom’s non-destructive environment is unlikely to appeal to you.
Depending on how much cloud storage space you need, you can choose from two different pricing options. Getting 20GB of storage for $9.99/month is a good deal, and getting 1TB of storage for $19.99/month is an even better deal.
The Adobe Creative Suite is $52.99 per month for the entire package. All the software from the previous tier is included in this tier, along with lots of others from the Adobe library. The cloud storage in this package is, however, limited to only 100GB.
Lightroom remains more expensive over time despite offering many pricing options. Nevertheless, Lightroom remains one of the more affordable monthly subscription applications. Therefore, we will deduct half a point from your score.
Lightroom Pricing: 3.5/5
Although Lightroom features a variety of pricing options to be economical for any artist or business, it cannot compete with the free nature of Snapseed. If you are a professional photographer, however, with a desire for more features, functions, and organized cloud support, Lightroom offers a lot to justify its price.
Both Snapseed’s iOS and Android installations come with an introduction video. This document features an FAQ, a guide to troubleshooting, and an overview of the editing process.
Support options like these are helpful, but are quite limited. For most beginners, they’ll be sufficient, but professionals might wish for more. Due to these limitations, we deduct one point.
Snapseed Support: ⅘
The Adobe Creative Suite includes Lightroom, so it has the same support resources and out-of-the-box features as any other Adobe application. Contact Adobe’s support team for assistance with the program by calling or submitting a ticket regarding the issues you’re experiencing.
If you run into a problem more specific to your photo or find yourself stuck, there’s no shortage of articles, tutorials, and a support forum that can assist any user, whether it’s a first-timer or a seasoned photographer who just needs some guidance.
Furthermore, plugins provide additional functionality to let you customize the application to your taste, whether it’s by making filter combos easier or automating the output process. Our perfect score for Lightroom is a result of this wide range of options.
Lightroom Support: 5/5
From a support standpoint, Lightroom offers many more options when compared to Snapseed. No matter your skill level, you will have access to a wealth of resources due to the high level of support. Lightroom is clearly the best in the support department.
Lightroom is an all-around photo editing tool which is superior to Snapseed for mobile devices.
For those who need to handle a heavy workload in a short period of time, having Lightroom available on both mobile and desktop environments, coupled with the cloud storage environment, will be of great benefit.
The price, while a bit more expensive than Snapseed, is relatively inexpensive compared to Adobe’s other standalone applications, especially if you only use the app on your mobile device. Lightroom is by far the better choice for all aspects of photography.