Shuttergrub: Sharing My Smartphone Food Photography Workflow

July 25, 2018

My Samsung Galaxy Note 2 from Globe

Globe gave me a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 last month so here”s my grand, obligatory post about this phone. After a full month of fiddling with the Galaxy Note II, I”ve finally ditched any form of portable camera in my life. If there”s a time when I can finally safely tell you to leave your digital camera at home, this is it. The Note II is a picture-taking beast.

Today, I want to share with you the workflow I”ve developed in taking pictures using this phone.

First, I use Samsung”s built-in S Note and S Pen to create moodboards. The S Note is an easy-to-use and robust virtual notebook that”s quite similar to Paper (on iOS) that lets you play around with photos and drawings. The S Pen is a well-made stylus that makes it really easy to draw and write on the phone. With these, I usually craft mood boards before I shoot.

Next, I get to the camera. At first glance, this phone”s camera works like most of the others with simply clear and sharp pictures on a very vibrant screen. But after tinkering with it, I discovered that it can take bursts shots with a fast shutter speed. (For those not familiar with the term, bursts shooting is when you hold the camera”s shutter button longer than necessary and take continuous shots to capture motion.) Since the phone is light, you”d get blurred shots 1 in every 5 photos due to the shaking of your hand, and even more when you”re shooting in low light. With this phone, I take 3-5 bursts shots to make sure I get at least 1 or 2 photos sharp.

Since it”s way too tedious to export every single photo to Photoshop for post-processing, I do most of the editing in my phone using 3rd party apps. Aside from the ones I mentioned before, I”ve gotten hooked on this new one called Snaptastic.

What I like about is that unlike most photo filter apps, it has preset filters that you can actually recreate and adjust, which gives you tons of flexibility.

My favorite preset here is called “The 70s” which I build on by tweaking the exposure, contrast and vignetting. I also adjust the color temperature and tint depending on which changes work well with the photo. Once I”m satisfied with the adjustments, I can save my personal preset and use it over and over again.

After adjusting color in Snaptastic, I move on to several other 3rd party apps for more specialized editing. For example, I use for more precise adjustments like levels, curves, color temperature, resizing, sharpening and blurring. In this case, I really just needed to fix the contrast using levels and brush some blur on the edges of the photo.

In this example, I wanted to add some light leaks to get that hipster vibe. My favorite app would probably be due to its massive selection of light leak filters. However, I still think it has a lot of room for improvement because the opacity levels can”t be adjusted which sometimes results in overly harsh light leaks.

And after all that work, here are the results:

It might seem that I”m overselling this phone because Globe gave it to me, but I promise you that I really love the Note 2. While I won”t go and say that this is the best phone out there for photographers (because the Iphone also has a terrific camera and app selection as well) I”d guarantee that you”ll love this phone if you”re into photography. You can get it from Globe.

Add me up on Twitter and Instagram for updates. If you want to learn food photography, I”m teaching over at 50 feasts.

Credits: Photos on moodboard were taken from Gourmet Traveller; Chicken Wings photo was taken from a shoot I did with PBCO using the Note2.

Shuttergrub is Mylene Chung”s weekly food photography and prop styling column in Pepper.ph. Here, you”ll find food photography and prop styling tips, inspirations and other cool, related stuff. 

Mylene Chung Mylene Chung

Mylene Chung is a food photographer and prop stylist for Pepper.ph and PhotoKitchen. She’s worked with companies like Resorts World Manila, Reader’s Digest Asia, Manila Peninsula and has been featured in several publications and tv shows. Over the course of her career, she has already gained a whopping 20 pounds, which she has been desperately trying to lose. For more updates from her, you can add her up on instagram @mylenechung.

5 comments in this post SHOW

5 responses to “Shuttergrub: Sharing My Smartphone Food Photography Workflow”

  1. Zynnie says:

    This is a great article. I’ve been trying to do video edits on my smartphone using third part apps. Will look into using photos editing too! Thanks!

  2. Tin says:

    wow! this is really interesting. thanks

  3. pepper12 says:

    the script for this article is showing on your photo slider…

  4. kmmyp says:

    I tried it on my friend’s note 2 and I have to agree with you!!! 🙂

  5. Debbie Ann Go says:

    what camera are you using? ☺

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