TUT 1: “Extreme” HDR; Artistic Edit Tutorial

Welcome to my first tutorial on photo editing! The following explains how to get an artistic effect through the use of “extreme” HDR editing. All of the apps used are free and definitely available on Android (not sure about iPhone). This technique will not always work with every photo, and actually isn’t my usual style, but turned out pretty cool in this case.



A good deal of photo editing is experimentation. I love Snapseed’s HDR effect because it has multiple settings to choose from, which allows for a lot of control. I always check my photos in each of the 4 HDR styles to see which one I like best for that particular photo. I have my favorites, but occasionally I’ll get a pleasant surprise, so that’s why I take the time to look at each of them. In this case, the ‘Fine HDR’ setting (the one I use the least, by far) was the most interesting to me. Remember, these settings won’t work for every photo, but might give you a jumping off point for your own experimentation. Let’s dive in!

I. Step One: Snapseed

  1. Open photo in Snapseed.
  2. Tap the edit icon in the lower right-hand corner of your screen to open your Tools and Filters menu.
  3. Scroll to ‘Filters’ and tap ‘HDR Scape’ to open the HDR settings & select ‘Fine’.
  4. Swipe right across the screen to increase the ‘Filter Strength’ to 72.
  5. Next, swipe upward to the ‘Brightness’ setting & increase it to 3.
  6. Swipe upward again to the ‘Saturation’ setting & increase it to 12.
  7. Tap the checkmark to apply settings.
  8. Tap ‘SAVE’ in the top right-hand corner to save the photo.

II. Step Two: BeFunky

  1. Open newly edited photo in BeFunky.
  2. Tap ‘Edits’, select ‘Beautify’, push the slider down to 24 & tap the checkmark to apply the settings.
  3. Tap ‘Contrast’, slide to 3 & tap checkmark.
  4. Tap ‘Temperature’, slide to -5 & tap checkmark.
  5. Tap ‘Soften’, slide to 18 & tap checkmark.
  6. Tap arrow on the left & tap ‘Effects’.
  7. Scroll to ‘Cross Process’, tap twice, slide to 36 & tap checkmark.
  8. Scroll to ‘Orton’, tap twice, slide down to 25 & tap checkmark.
  9. Tap arrow.
  10. Tap ‘Save’ in upper right-hand corner & tap ‘Gallery’ to save to your phone.

III. Step Three: Pixlr

  1. Open your BeFunky edit in Pixlr.
  2. Tap ‘Tools’ (1st icon on lower left-hand corner of screen), tap ‘autofix’ & tap checkmark to apply changes.
  3. Go to ‘Tools’ again & tap ‘adjustment’.
  4. Tap ‘contrast’ & slide up to 12.
  5. Tap ‘vibrance’ & slide down to -34.
  6. Tap ‘highlight’ & slide up to 16.
  7. Tap ‘shadows’ & slide down to -18.
  8. Tap ‘saturation’ & slide down to -12.
  9. Tap checkmark to apply settings.
  10. Tap middle icon (between paintbrush & frame icons) to open a menu with ‘effect’, ‘overlay’, & ‘stylize’ options.
  11. Tap ‘overlay’, scroll to white circle for ‘color correction’ overlays, select ‘blue’, slide down to 87 & tap checkmark.
  12. Tap middle icon again.
  13. Tap the ‘default’ filters in ‘effect’ (if not already selected), select ‘antonio’, slide down to 55 & tap checkmark.
  14. Tap ‘done’ in the top right-hand corner.
  15. From here, you can choose to ‘Save Image’ (to your phone), ‘Instagram’, ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, and ‘More’.
  16. When saving your image to your phone, you’ll be asked to select a size: ‘Small’, ‘Medium’, ‘Max’, or ‘Custom’. (Smaller is better for space & size, but larger is better for image quality.)
  17. Tap ‘OK’.
  18. Select JPEG or PNG & save. (If you choose JPEG, you will also be asked to select ‘Low’, ‘Medium’, or ‘High’ quality. I tested by saving in each and as a PNG. The PNG was a higher quality image, of course. However, the differences between each were pretty subtle, and even saving it on the lowest quality JPEG setting didn’t look too bad on my phone.)

My next tutorial will use a photo from my ‘Let’s Collaborate!’ (Raw Downloads) page, so you’ll be able to follow right along with me if you like! Please feel free to download any of the 52 non-filtered, unedited photos there in the meantime, edit them using your own favorite apps & techniques, and upload them for a chance to be featured in an exclusive “collaborations” gallery on my site, as well as on EyeEm, Instagram, and Twitter! Please subscribe for free to participate. More details for subscribers here.