Features

7 tips to stepping up your Instagram game

No amount of editing can fix a bad image

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It all started with sharing memories using a vintage filter. Through the years, Instagram grew and became a platform for self-expression, an avenue for individuals to showcase their lifestyle and creativity. More and more, people are curating their Instagram profiles and here you are, stuck with your messy feed and hoping to step up your Instagram game out of envy.

Fret not! A lot of us feel that way, too. As a creative who lives and breathes Instagram for brands, but doesn’t have the time to work on his own account, I’ve got seven tips to share to help people level up. Here they are:

Think like a brand

Chay likes to take photos of her food, while Kevin is passionate about landscape and aerial photography

Set the direction of how you want your Instagram feed to look. It can be in tune with your personality, hobbies, and interests, or you can transform it into your portfolio of artworks, photographs, or works you proudly share. It can also give people a glimpse of your lifestyle, or the things you’re passionate about. Whatever it is, you decide on what to show on your feed.

Equip yourself with the right camera

Kevin likes to capture his adventures with his favorite toy, the DJI Mavic Pro. MJ, on the other hand, prefers to capture his moments on a good camera phone

Today’s smartphone cameras can sometimes have the same resolution and image quality as a DSLR camera’s, but you shouldn’t fully rely on them. Depending on what kind of photographs you take, there’s a gadget that will help you up your Instagram game. Whether it’s an action cam, drone, or mirrorless camera, there’s a specific shooter out there for your unique needs.

Let your photos tell a story

MJ captured this photo of a girl walking on the streets of Puerto Galera under the scorching sun, while Vincenz photographed a passing taho vendor during a late afternoon in Boracay

Be in touch with your surroundings and capture the moments you find yourself in. Give your followers a glimpse of what’s happening by including people, actions, scenery, and events in your photos. Invoke emotions and make your audience feel like they’re a part of your narrative. A caption would help to support your post, but your photograph should be able to tell a story on its own.

Adjust and tweak for the best results

Chay visited an Instagram-worthy cafe in Shanghai; the raw image is beautiful enough, but to keep her style, she adjusted the brightness and temperature slightly to make it warmer

Our smartphones may not capture the exact moment we see with our own eyes, but we can always accentuate how beautiful our photos are through editing. There are numerous photo-editing apps but remember to not overdo it! Just tweak and adjust these main points: brightness, contrast, alignment, and temperature. Do so, and you’ll look like a pro.

Keep it authentic from the start

MJ upped the vibrancy a little bit to accentuate Mt. Pinatubo’s aquamarine-colored lake, and Dan tweaked the highlights to feature the skyscrapers of Singapore

Good editing is the kind wherein you don’t notice it was even edited. A lot of people overdo their editing to the point of looking artificial. Some can actually pull it off, but others try so hard to copy styles and presets that the image loses its authenticity.

Be consistent and learn how to commit

Dan’s feed consists of his daily grind showcasing urban life and architecture, while Isa’s feed features her travels and OOTDs.

This generation has a lot of commitment issues *ehem* but being uncommitted when you badly want something isn’t going to get you anywhere. Once you’ve decided to up your Instagram game, you have to continue doing so to achieve the feed that you’ve always wanted.  Be consistent in posting a single style to make it cohesive.

Don’t take it too seriously

Isa, Alven, and Michael Josh uploaded their fun and memorable moments on their respective Instagram profiles.

And lastly, enjoy and have fun! Taking it seriously kills your creativity. Get in touch with your inner child and be playful. There’s so much more to life than your Instagram feed.

Curating your feed might seem daunting, and from your perspective, it could be a thing only brands, influencers, and creative people do. You might even downplay yourself because you don’t have talent in photography, but guess what, you don’t need to be a pro to take nice photographs. Your eyes can be trained to see the beauty in everything; you just have to believe that there’s an artist inside you.

24 Hours Series

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4: First 24 Hours

With an unboxing of the Z Fold4 and its special S-Pen case!

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During the first of the Flip or Fold: First 24 Hours series, Michael Josh went around New York with the Galaxy Z Flip4.

In the second part, he now has the Galaxy Z Fold4 with him.

After unboxing comes the usual battery life test by bringing it around the streets of Manhattan.

Other than that, a mini camera shootout was performed against the Galaxy Z Fold3.

Watch our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 Unboxing and First 24 Hours video to know everything about it.

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Smartphones

Xiaomi 12 Lite Unboxing

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Xiaomi 12 Lite

There’s always a Lite at the end of every Xiaomi flagship tunnel. Here, we’re unboxing the Xiaomi 12 Lite.

Unboxing

Xiaomi 12 Lite

It’s not everyday that we get smartphones in this luggage-like package.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

Opening it up reveals the Xiaomi 12 Lite box. There’s a bunch of other stuff in there. But they’re mostly for goods for the upcoming Malaysia trip we have which we’ll document using this phone. Be sure to wait for that one to come out.

Here’s a closer look at the lower end of the box just so we can pad this article with more photos and words.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

Opening the box you’ll see the phone itself covered in paper detailing its key features. The following are highlighted: Featherweight slim design, Studio-level 108MP triple camera, Smart 67W turbo charging, and 120Hz AMOLED display.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

There’s also the cardboard box thing containing the jelly case, documentation, and what not. Everything from here on out is a pretty standard affair.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

Digging deeper into the box, you’ll find the power brick which is no longer a staple inclusion in all brand new smartphones.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

And the USB-C cable.

That’s pretty much it for the contents of the box. Now, onto the phone itself.

Closer look at the Xiaomi 12 Lite

Xiaomi 12 Lite

The unit we have is the Lite Green colorway. It also comes in Lite Pink and Black.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

The right hand side has the volume rockers and power button. The other side is empty.


And at the bottom you’ll find the speaker grille, USB-C port, and SIM Tray slot. Yes, it’s dual-sim, and no, it doesn’t have any storage expansion slots. Onboard storage goes up to 256GB for some variants. This particular one we have only has 128GB.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

Here’s a closer look at the rear camera module. The 108MP f/1.9 main camera is flanked by an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle lens, and a tacked on 2MP f/2.4 macro lens.  Up front, it has a 32MP f/2.5 selfie shooter.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

The phone runs on the Android 12-based MIUI 13.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

It has a 6.55-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz screen refresh rate. It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+ where applicable. The phone is relatively easy to hold and doesn’t feel too big despite the large screen.

Xiaomi 12 Lite

That’s it for the Unboxing! As mentioned earlier, we’ll have a GadgetSnaps feature to show you what its cameras can do. Pricing details should be available on August 18th and the full review will come after.

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Automotive

Celebrating spesh occasions with the Ford Territory

Friends, blue skies, and creature comforts for a cozy drive down south

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I can still remember the first time I rode the Ford Territory. I was astounded by the vehicle’s creature comforts that gave drivers and passengers a cozy experience.

We traversed between cities, looking for good food. Despite the hellish traffic that comes with driving in Metro Manila, we were entertained by the technology packed inside the automobile.

More than a year later, the Ford Territory found its way to my garage. It’s like a gift of adventure, in time for my birthday.

Day 1

9:00 am. south kids, ready to go.

July 23. It was a Saturday morning when I received a call from my best friend, Mark, asking me to get ready. They arrived shortly and tried to wind down watching Netflix at home while I prepare everything we need for the trip.

The last time I celebrated my birthday was three years ago. When the pandemic robbed us of time and moments to be with the people we love, I found it difficult to find joy in glamorizing my day. As the world eases up, I knew I had to take this chance to get out and be fabulous.

Before we set off for an adventure down south, we took a photo in front of the Territory.

It was only the three of us who are going for a ride, though. Two of my friends, Oliver and Marlon, weren’t able to join my momentous occasion due to a conflict in the schedule but they decided to stop by and greet me.

10:00 am. navigator at your service.

We were headed to pick up the parents of my godson along Santana Grove in Parañaque. Of course, I wasn’t the driver. I took on the shotgun to be the navigator and the DJ. And so I can always look at myself in the side mirror.

The first half of the trip consisted of exploring the Territory’s technology. A drive isn’t complete without good music, so we used Apple CarPlay in its infotainment system to connect our iPhones. Plenty of devices can get in the way of easily connecting your iPhone to the vehicle, but it’s still easy to pair.

READ: 13 Reasons Why I keep coming back to an iPhone

What we found troublesome was using both Maps and Spotify. The music gets interrupted whenever Maps prompts with a new direction to take. Since music is more important to us, I used my Android phone to use Maps and have a separate, dedicated navigation tool.

If you have a car mount like Moshi’s SnapTo Universal Car Mount, you can clip it so it’ll hold your smartphone.

11:30 am. blue skies.

Our destination for the weekend was Calatagan. That means we have to pass through Tagaytay, which is horrible on the weekends. We took several detours and long cuts just so we have to make it to our favorite stop, Mahogany, in time to meet our other friends driving their sedan.

Finally seeing good weather, we blasted ‘Teenage Dream’ by Katy Perry and opened the windows, as well as the sunroof, while traversing CALAX.

I was already having a good time, and it was just the morning.

1:00 pm. time for bulalô.

Our mood went down; energies depleted. We finally encountered Tagaytay’s unbearable traffic on the weekends. It took us at least half an hour to arrive at Mahogany Beer Market, and we even struggled with finding a parking slot.

When we found a space to park, I loved how the Ford Territory assisted us, thanks to its Ford Co-Pilot 360, an advanced suite of standard driver-assist technologies. Parking in reverse — parallel even — allows the screen to provide a simulated aerial view of the Territory’s surroundings on the screen.

The Mahogany Beef Market is popular for serving fresh meat such as beef, chicken, and pork. On the second floor of the beef market, you can find a slew of food stalls serving Bulalô — a Filipino soup dish made from beef leg bones and marrow.

Mahogany wasn’t fancy in any way, but the food is overwhelmingly delicious and they serve it at a cheaper price compared to restaurants found in Tagaytay. The place is also nostalgic. I remember my drunken nights from Papa Doms, stopping over at Mahogany so I can get sober.

READ: 24 Hours in Tagaytay

3:00 pm. safe drives in the rain.

It took us more than an hour to reach Calatagan coming from Tagaytay. The drive was filled with chill OPM blasting through its speakers. We weren’t able to use the sunroof since we encountered heavy rains and thunderstorms when passing through Nasugbu.

The infotainment system came in handy when I was adjusting the vehicle’s air-conditioning system, the ambient lighting, and sometimes, the seat’s heater. My friend kept increasing my seat’s heater while I try to take a nap, which annoyed me since my butt’s getting really warm.

On another note, my friend was able to keep his eyes on the road and take control of the vehicle’s settings even if we were all asleep, thanks to the easily reachable buttons in and around the steering wheel.

4:00 pm. hello, calatagan.

By four in the afternoon, we were able to arrive at our destination called The Beach along Lucsuhin-Hukay Rd. There are military checkpoints along the way, so be sure to stop when they tell you to do so — even if you’re obstructing the traffic. They’re pretty angsty if you’re considerate of other vehicles.

Nevertheless, the staff at The Beach greeted us with a welcoming smile when we arrived. Even in the lobby, the staff were polite, courteous, and accommodating. When we got the keys to our room, we were served refreshments while we bask at the sound of the waves crashing down the shores, along with the murmurs of friends and families chatting and having fun.

We tried to settle in and change our clothes so we can relax.

6:00 pm. dillydallying at the beach.

As the sun sets, we were vibing, dancing to the beat, and drinking beer, while gawking at the scenery unraveling before us.

When the night came, we ate our freshly-served dinner and I blew the candles from the cake my friends surprised me with. It’s funny how they stole the Instax films I have at home as my cake’s topper to make it really about me.

My birthday night ended with moments of revelry, alcohol, music, and good companionship. I couldn’t ask for more.

Day 2

07:00 am. mornings by the beach.

The Beach, home to aesthetically-pleasing sets and decors, looked immaculate when I went out to enjoy the rising sun. The sea was calm, the breeze was cool, and there are happy vibes all over the place.

The resort offers a freshly-brewed Kapeng Barako, a coffee varietal grown in Batangas province coming from the Coffea Liberica species. There’s also a complimentary breakfast for the guests.

The Beach had an Instagrammable dining area by the sea, and we opted to eat our breakfast there.

9:00 am. laughter and splashes.

Making the most out of our stay, we decided to head to the beach. We weren’t thrilled with the kayak, and instead, we swam up to the inflatable which proved to be challenging for almost everyone trying to make their way up.

We took several photos, had fun splashing around, and enjoyed swimming.

Moments later, we decided to try the Infinity pool. Of course, we still had our photos taken.

12:00 pm. it’s time to go.

Check-out is at 12 noon. We dressed up because we were a little extra. We took group photos in several parts of the resort to commemorate the celebration.

Of course, we all posed in front of the Ford Territory. Rising pop-rock sensation, Noela, and her boyfriend stood out of the sunroof. If this was a 7-seater, we would’ve really enjoyed using only one vehicle, and our drives may have been filled with waves of laughter and stories.

2:00 pm. wind in my hair, i was there.

We were on the way home, and there were only three of us inside the Territory since the couple we picked up before were joining my friend in another vehicle. We were taking separate ways after eating our lunch at Tagaytay, again.

 

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I took this moment to sing along to my favorite songs, as I open the sunroof. We were savoring the cool breeze despite the blazing heat of the sun. It was literally a Taylor Swift moment of “Wind in my hair, I was there” because I remember it all too well.

4:00 pm. do you have oat milk?

Like on ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’, we took a long way home. But no, we didn’t ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright. We passed by Amadeo, the coffee capital of the Philippines. We stopped over by Kaffe Belardo so my friends can buy their coffee beans.

I bought a ready-to-go beverage, taking a sip of their cold brew mixed with almond and oat milk. It’s rare to see local cafes offering milk options, especially for those allergic to regular, fresh milk.

With the scent of coffee and the cool breeze thanks to a lineup of trees surrounding the highway, Amadeo is a good place to drive when you just want to get away from it all. I wish I went here when I was losing myself before.

9:00 pm. singing in the car, getting lost upstate.

The Sunday traffic was arguably hellish, especially if you’re down south. The full tank was almost depleted after over a hundred-kilometer drive, which made us giddy since we didn’t have to stop over at gas stations to refuel while we were on our way. It made the trip efficient, and our planned schedule was followed — even with bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The Ford Territory offers a cozy experience — whether you’re a driver or a passenger. It makes being on the road fun and comfortable, thanks to its creature comforts that are easily accessible to anyone. Moreover, the technology infused in the vehicle makes everyone feel safe.

I never pegged the Territory as a long-drive companion, but it proved that it can handle city drives and road trips excellently, more than what we asked for.

To know more about the latest offers, visit ford.com.ph/shopping/latest-offer/ or any Ford dealership nearest you.

SEE ALSO: Ford Territory: Feel at ease while traveling in style | Ford Territory: A techie finds his dream car

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