How I Edit My Food Pictures Using VSCOCam

04.09.00

I got asked this question too many times: "How do I edit my Instagram photos?". Well I got three answers for that actually.

If I am diligent enough I would edit the photos using Photoshop on the computer, but if I am on my lazy mode, I would just edit using VSCOcam or SnapSeed. I had done a little tutorial on how to edit the food photos using Snapseed and this time I'm going to show you how I usually edit my food photos using the highly popular VSCOcam.

A little about VSCOcam, I think it's probably THE BEST photo editor out there, the filters are so damn good and whoever created the presets is such a genius bastard. It could produce that film cameras tone and feeling in just a tap! If you ever found film cameras to be a little expensive and complicated (I mean the scanning and the rolls), here comes the more affordable choice, at least close, because all you need is ios or Android phones, and probably a few dollars to buy the whole presets to be in your bundle, but still, you can't compare VSCOcam to the original film cameras. They're beyond magical!

I am going to show you a little tutorial on how I usually edited my photos using VSCOcam and in this post, I am going to show you four photos with different condition.

I couldn't really decide what my favorite presets are because it always depends on your photos: the lighting, the color, the ambiance, the elements and I believe you can't just have one preset for every photos and that's why VSCO has tons of it. Okay I started to praise VSCOcam like it's an ad this is NOT wtf!

But usually, again USUALLY for food photos, I love the "S" presets as they produce clean vivid looking pictures. For beaches, forests or nature I usually stick with the "M" or "P" series as they produce moody subtle tones, to be more specific, I think I use, (or overuse) the M5 or P5, sometimes A4 or A6!

1. Outdoor with Wood base pattern/background.
Editing the photos with wood background could be tricky, if you tap on the wrong presets, they could create harsh looking or over-contrast photos so for personal projects, I suggest you pick the right wood texture, the plain smooth wood texture pretty much humble to go with most presets, but the ones with complicated textures and patterns sometimes just don't.

I have here with me pretty smooth wood for background and I LOVE TO EXPERIMENT using VSCOcam. I could just tap the "S" presets and have decent looking photos but sorry my dear, it's BORING, so I tend to play with the color and try this and that hoping it would work.

One thing about VSCOcam (or editing in general) that you need to know, when you start using it for long period of time and in a way, getting used to it, when you look at a picture, you kinda already know what preset you want to use just by looking at the raw photos: the tones you want, the colors you want, pretty much the same with me when I want to take food pictures, I had the picture in my head already.

So for this photo I want to add a little soft pastel-ish colors and I just knew right away I want to go with the E5 (which happened to be one of my current favorites), it had this subtle soft faded retro pastel tone, a little pinkish with peach and blue tone, and this preset is pretty humble with everything. I put the preset strength to "12".
Since I noticed the front part to be a little dark, I wanna brighten the dark areas NOT using the brightness tool, but shadows! The difference between "brightness" and "shadow" is located on the range of area. If "brightness" brighten the whole area on the photo, "shadows" brighten the darker area or those with less light, the stronger the "shadows" setting could produce faded tones. To emphasize the detailing, I also used the sharpen tool.
 I would love to have a little haze of blue so I added the blue shadow to the photo and here's another question I want to answer, if you ask me what's the difference between "shadows" and "highlights" color, it's easy, "shadows" give colors to the black area in a photo and "highlights" give colors to the white area in a photo" as simple as that.

The finishing touch was to add a little contrast. The reason why I put the contrast on the last panel was because when you "contrast" a photo, it could tone down the softness. I noticed I gave very soft blue color and one contrast bar to the right, voila, amazement. Sometimes you can be quite shocked by how appealing the "contrast" tool is.
Desatured the photo a little and completed it with the vignette setting. Vignette created the dimensional touch to the photo.


2. Indoor night lighting
This is one of the lighting conditions I hate the most, it's just because most restaurants use yellow light bulbs resulting yellow and warm surroundings and not the most pleasant conditions for photos, but this is just on the photo-taking purpose, but when you actually dine-in, it's kinda romantic and heart-warming.

To solve this problem I usually play around with the color and the tone, again, being a little playful is never wrong. It's always okay to experiment.

I have been loving the E series recently and usually for indoor lighting, I apply the E8 preset, it's very soft and faded, but I tend to tone down the strength to around 6 or 8.
Temperature adjustments: the more positive the value of temperature will result more yellow midtones, and the more negative the temperature value will result cooler undertone.
I like to increase just a little yellowness of the photo because after the E8 preset, the picture's a little soft, to I toned up the temperature to a few levels but then desaturated the color one bar to the left to balance the overall ambiance.
Shadows setting to brighten up the dark area in front. You could just stop here as I think the color was decent enough, probably a little sharpness adjustment and you're on board, but I'd like to experiement with the color and hence I added the purple shadow.
Sharpen up to enhance the details and finish the editing with a proper vignette. My kind of vignette is around 2 or 3.
Final result.

3. Outdoor lighting
This is my favorite lighting state as well as the most effortless one. Told ya so many times that natural daylight is the best, but make sure you don't shoot in the hard light condition. When you shoot outdoor, you will most likely have good base and hence a little editing needed.

Usually for photos taken outdoor with decent light, I don't really apply filters to the photos, I wanna keep the color to be real and simple, but on this tutorial I want to show you how I usually edit with filters. To keep the photo simple and clean, I normally proceed using the "S" presets, and usually S2 or S3.

Editing using the S3 preset, but then tone down the strength to around 5.
To brighten the dark area, a little shadow adjustment. I think the photo was sharp enough I didn' t need to add up the sharpness.


4. Outdoor Top Shot
Top shot is probably one of the most famous angle for Instagram, it indeed made photos look pretty and in a sense, wide, especially when you know how to style it. I chose this photo I took when I had my breakfast in Kupu-Kupu Barong, the background is black hence I want to (again) play around with the faded tones. I love the "T" presets because it created this faded desaturated tones, just simple but quite attractive. I edited this pic using the T3 preset.
A little shadow adjustment to brighten the dark area (since this photo consist of black color and background), I notice the photo was lacking of warmth to I tone up the temperature.
For some reasons, I don't know why I love to play around with the skin tone, well it indeed gave much difference to the portrait photos, but for food, it gave just a little difference to the red, orange, reddish brown and yellow color, it simply boost up my confidence. To add a little dimension, I apply the red shadow
Sharpen the photo to enhance the details and gave a little vignette.


FYI I am so fuming mad at Blogger for compressing my goddamn photos!!! Especially the first picture (macarons)! The editing and the final result for some unknown reasons looked different, the result photo was what I intended to but the tone looked incredibly mutual on the steps.

To be honest, I don't know why I purchased all the presets, maybe I just want to collect everything, but I gotta tell you, if you don't want to buy any of the presets you could just stick with the free ones because I think most people would agree (and I did ask around 20 people) that they mostly use the A4, A6, F2, M5 or P5 for most of their photos, and as for me, those mentioned indeed great presets.

I kinda regret purchasing some presets like the "N" ones that I never and would never ever use and some of the "H", if you look closer and actually try all the presets, certain presets almost look and feel the same, only very little difference that you can achieve using manual editing on the tint, shadows and highlights.

Before I end this post, I have few announcements to make:
Later today, VSCO just launched the LV3 Commuter! The LV series are created in cooperation with Levi's Jeans and so far I have been loving it. Here are some photos that I edited using the LV3 preset!


and one more thing:
SEPHORA IS NOW OPENING IN JAKARTA! After positive response from the public on the Kota Kasablanka outlet, they're now opening another branch in Plaza Indonesia.
Sephora Plaza Indonesia

This is so random, but for some reasons wanted the girls who read my blog to know about this and SPLURGE!

I'm not really into this thing because it's mostly make-up and beauty but I am thrilled that another popular International establishment could make it to the local scene!

To wrap this post, I just want to tell you guys this: in the end, it's photography and good base (lighting, styling, focus, background) will help you so much in the editing process, just like a person's face, the better the base, the easier to polish, so make sure you take good and clear pictures already before you proceed to the editing and you better know how you want the pictures to look like and to be, remember, editing is just to emphasize the features on a photo, it's not everything, it's the person behind the gun with their senses that count the most :).

Thank you for reading, keep on shooting and.... eating!

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