It’s pretty obvious that there are a bunch of changes to the Google Plus interface but I’ve heard that there are some slick new capabilities with photographic editing and was wondering how do I get to those features when I post a photo to my G+ account?
You’re right that Google this week unveiled a ton of improvements and features to Google Plus, including a multi-column layout that I just think is terrific, along with a new and far more powerful Hangouts program. Chief among the improvements that’ll help people on a day to day basis, however, are the photo smarts they’ve added.
Some of it’ll seem a bit like voodoo to most folk, like the ability for the system to identify the dozen best pictures from your 100+ photo upload of travel and vacation shots. The facial recognition capability has apparently gotten considerably better too, along with other subtle tweaks related to photos and photo galleries.
The coolest features are those that are front and center for all users, however, photo enhancements that are just a single click away.
To start out, I’ve got a source photograph I’m going to post. Here it is, exactly as it came off my Apple iPhone 5:
Nice, but a bit dark. It’s a “contrasty” shot so the camera had a hard time figuring out whether to base exposure on the bright windows or the dark interior. Pretty common problem with photographs, actually.
Let’s see what Google Plus can do with it. To start, I’ll click on the camera icon on the “Share what’s new” box:
With some fancy animation, that brings up a bigger window for the update, photo upload, etc:
The drag target region is very nice, so I’ll just drag and drop the building interior photo onto it:
As you can see, it changes to blue when it detects a file is being dropped, then once you let go of the mouse button, it quickly uploads and gives you a toolbar of edit options:
I have my Google Plus configured to automatically enhance photos, so if you look closely you’ll see that the interior is a bit lightened, the photo is a bit less underexposed. You can turn the auto-enhance on and off in your settings, just go to Home on the left, then Settings and scroll down to find the check box to enable/disable automatic photo enhancements.
Look closely at those four tools. They are “enhance”, “add text”, “rotate” and “trash”. The enhance feature is an on/off tool and it’s very interesting to compare what it tweaks with your original image. So far, every photo I’ve tried has been improved with its various tweaks and adjustments.
Adding text as an overlay is great fun, and I’ll show you that in a moment. The other two are self-explanatory.
Click on “add text” and a new window opens:
If you’re a Pinterest or Instagram user, you already know about the almost ubiquitous text overlays that turn photos into mini inspirational posters or snarky commentary on culture, etc. Now you can do it yourself, super easy, as part of posting a photo on Google Plus.
I’ll demonstrate by adding a few words to the top and bottom:
It’s subtle, but if you’d prefer a different typeface for the text, there’s a small font selection box on the right side that shows the options if you click on it:
For the love of G-d, though, please don’t pick Comic Sans. 🙂
Done with your text overlay? Click “Save” and you’re still adding text and finishing up your new photo post. Add a comment, tag people, identify the location, and click “Share”.
Done. And it’s pretty slick:
Before we leave, here’s another interesting little feature. Click on your photo so that you see it full screen, then move the cursor to the top left of the photograph itself. A little “Enhanced” button appears:
Want to see how the photo would have looked before the G+ Elves fixed it? Simply click and hold on the “Enhanced” button and it’ll show you the original, unenhanced version:
You can only view unenhanced originals when they’re your own photos, so no peeking to see what others are uploading, but I think it’s a very slick additional capability and in this case, it demonstrates how the automatic enhancements really improved the photograph.