How to edit food photos on your phone, it’s easy

This photo was edited in Lightroom and Photoshop

A few of my Instagram friends asked me for some tips on editing food photos, and the easiest way to explain is to go through the step by step process of how I edit my photos. The edits in this post were done on my iPhone using VSCO and Snapseed app. I usually do most of my edits on my computer using Lightroom and Photoshop. But I figured most people don’t own these programs, so I went through a similar process using my phone.

As you can see from the photo, the original photo is a bit dark, colors not popping, and background too distracting.

Frist thing I do is add a filter. I pick a filter I like and apply to (almost) every photo I use. This is an easy way to achieve a consistent feel on your feed. Among the phone apps, I like the filters on VSCO, specifically the Q (alchemy) series. S (clean) series is pretty good too. Slide the bar (strength of the filter) around until you find what you like.

Next, I’m adjusting the exposure (brightness). Consider the brightness of the whole photo, not just the food. Tacos still look a bit dark, but I don’t want to over-brighten the background here.

Next, I’m slightly sharpening the photo. It will make the image clearer. But don’t over-do it. It will look cartoonish.

Next, I’m slightly increasing the clarity. It increases the contrast in the details.

Next, I export the image and import to Snapseed. Using the brush tool, I’m increasing the exposure (brightness) of only the taco.

Next, using the brush tool, I’m increasing the saturation (color intensity) of only the taco.

Next, I want to make the background more even and light. Using the brush tool, I apply dodge to the background around the plate. Dodge will make the photo lighter, and burn will make it darker

Next, I want to desaturate the background because the blue color feels distracting. (This is a personal preference. You can have a colorful background if that is your style.) Also using the brush tool, I tone down the background.

And there it is. The edited photo using VSCO and Snapseed. It might feel like a long process, but once I got used to it, it only took me 10 to 15 minutes for a photo that needs a bit of work. Enjoy editing!

And for the recipe for this yummy green sauce, check out my featured post on Bumkins.


12 Responses

  1. I absolutely love this tutorial!! I have Lightroom on my computer and just recently downloaded the accompanying app! It is so good to know that there are other amazing options out there as well!

  2. Very cool post, thanks for sharing. This is very helpful! Since buying the iPhone 7 Plus I mostly take photos with my phone and edit them with VSCO. Haven’t used Snapseed before though. Sounds interesting. I might just give it a try 😉

    1. Thank you, Angi. Snapseed is useful when you want to work on a selective portion of the image. I heard that the new Iphone takes pretty good photos.

  3. Love reading behind the scenes about that pretty photos. And thank you for sharing such a good tips. So helpful !

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