How to Edit Photos in Google+ Using Creative Kit

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Select a Google Plus Photo

Google+ Photo Editing

It's exceptionally easy to import photos in Google+. If you've installed the mobile app and you allow it, your phone or tablet will upload every photo you take on your device and place it into a private folder. This tutorial shows you how to edit those photos from your laptop or desktop computer.

Click on the photos button on the top of your Google+ screen to get started, then click on "​Photos from your phone." You can use photos from other sources, of course, but being able to edit photos from your phone before you make them public is one of the most useful features of Google+. In my case, my son loves to take pictures of himself on my tablet, so I'll start with one of his self-portraits.

When you hover over a photo, you should see a little magnifying glass. Click on one of the magnifying glasses to zoom in. That will take us to the next step.

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Exploring Photo Details on Google+

Details of a photo uploaded to Google+

Now that you've clicked on a photo, zoom in to see a larger view of it. You'll see the photos taken before and after it in the set along the bottom. You can select a new photo from there if it turns out that the first one you chose was blurry or wasn't the one you intended to view.

You'll see comments, if any, at the right side. My photo is private so there were never any comments. You can change the caption on the photo, change its visibility to others, or view the photo's metadata. The metadata contains information like the size of the photo and the camera used to take it.

In this case, we're going to hit the "Edit" button, then "Creative Kit." I'll zoom in to show this in better detail in the next step

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Select Creative Kit

This shows you the details for selecting Creative Kit.

This slide gives you a better view of what happens when you zoom in on a photo and click on the "Edit" button. You can make a couple of quick fixes right away, but the real magic happens when you select "Creative Kit." Google purchased an online photo editor called Picnik in 2010 and it uses quite a bit of Picnik's technology to power the editing abilities in Google+

After you've selected "Edit" and "Creative Kit," we'll move on to the next step. This time, there's a little Halloween flair.

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Apply Effects and Edit Your Photos

Edit your photo

If you're a Picnik user, this will all look very familiar. To start, you can pick from "Basic Edits" like cropping, exposure, and sharpening filters.

You'll also see a selection of "Effects" at the top of the screen. This is where you can apply filters, such as one to simulate a Polaroid frame or the ability to add a "sunless tan" to photos or remove blemishes.

Some effects simply apply a filter to a photo, while others require that you brush over the area where you want to apply the effect. After you select a different effect or move on to another area, you'll be prompted to either save or discard the changes you've made. Unlike Photoshop, Google+ does not edit photos in layers. When you make a change, it's changed working forward.

We're going to use the selection next to "Effects" for purposes of this tutorial. This is a season-specific selection, which is Halloween.

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Add Stickers and Seasonal Effects

When you pick a seasonal kit, you'll see fun filters and options specific to that season. Click on an item on the left and apply it to your photo. Choose whether to apply or discard each edit when you select another item.

Like "Effects," some of these may be filters that apply to the whole photo. Some may require that you drag your cursor over an area to apply the kit to a specific portion of the photo. We're looking at Halloween effects in this case so you can drag your cursor to paint on ghoulish eyes or beards.

The third type of effect is called a sticker. As the name implies, a sticker floats above your image. When you drag a sticker onto your image, you'll see handlebars that you can use to re-size and tilt the sticker to place it perfectly on the screen. In this case, my son's open mouth is the perfect spot to place some vampire fang stickers. I drag them into place and re-size them to fit his mouth, then I add some vampire glowing eyes and a few blood spatter stickers for the background. My picture is complete. The final step is saving and sharing this picture with the world.

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Save and Share Your Photo

Confirm replace your photo

You can save and share your photo after you've made all the photo edits you'd like. Click on the Save button at the upper right corner of the screen. You'll be asked to save or discard changes, and you'll also be asked if you'd like to replace your existing photo or save a new copy. If you replace your photo, it will overwrite the original. In my case, that's just fine. The existing photo wasn't going to be used for anything, so I'm saving myself the trouble of having to delete it anyway. But you might also want to save the original to use for other purposes.

You may see an image of turning gears as all of this processes. Google+ has very fast photo processing by Internet standards, but it can still seem pretty slow for someone who is used to editing on more powerful photo editors.

You'll see the same photo details view as you did in Step Two when your changes are applied. Simply press the "Share" button on the lower left side of this screen to share your photo on Google+. Your photo will be attached to a message you can share with the circles of your choice or with the public in general. The viewing permissions for the photo will also be changed when you share the photo. 

If you really like your photo, you can also download it from the details view. Select "Options" from the right bottom corner of the screen, then select "Download Photo." Enjoy!