How to soften high contrast photo using SnapSeed's Ambiance feature

Pre and post comparison after using SnapSeed's ambiance
The photo on the left is the original one. The one on the right has 85% ambience applied to it. Notice the warmer colour, the richer texture, and the details of the shadow. (Photo credit: Lindy Wilson)

If you take a photo under bright sunlight, you might find that the print comes out quite pale, and the shadow area a bit too dark. Here is a quick tutorial on how to use SnapSeed's Ambiance tool (Download: iOS, Android) to create a softer, and more visually pleasing photo.

The Ambiance tool is designed to "level" the high contrasts between the bright part of the photo (highlights), and the darker areas (shadows).

As you can see from the video below, by increasing the ambience level, the dark area will be lightened, but the highlights—say those on the top of the photo, hasn't become overwhelming bright. Instead, it takes on a more pleasant, muted look and the texture of the stone becomes clearer.