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.

Lifestyle

I was in Facebook jail for 24 Hours

Banned unjustly without any chance to appeal

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It was a lazy Friday morning when I woke up to a 9GAG article. Chuckling on its narrative, I saved the article in hopes of reading it later again so I can decide if I will share it with a close friend of mine. However, saving the article meant posting and sharing it, according to Facebook. I was given a warning for violating their community guidelines.

Shocked and confused, I unsaved the link. To find out if it’s the real culprit, I saved the link once again and then boom! I was banned from posting, liking, and engaging in any posts on Facebook.

At first, I thought the ban would only affect my profile. Little did I know, the ban would extend to the pages I handle. I couldn’t post, not even the scheduled posts I prepared for the day were posted. It affected my job as a social media manager.

Locked up and grounded

Que horror, the only word I uttered after realizing I screwed up. I asked someone to cover for my work while I channel my frustrations on Twitter and Reddit. Mindlessly, I scrolled through Instagram and I repeatedly had the urge to switch apps and browse on Facebook so I can share memes, just like what I would do on a normal day.

“They know everything, they can see what’s happening, but they just can’t tell the world the situation they’re in.”

However, I couldn’t handle it anymore. Not being able to share or at least react, I felt disconnected from everyone. To free myself from the negative feelings circulating inside, I uninstalled Facebook and did the rest of my work for the day.

For 24 hours, I was impatiently waiting to get my ban lifted. Being in Facebook jail didn’t feel like being cut-off from the world, but it was more like being grounded. It’s like my parents decided to stop me from seeing and contacting my friends just because I sneaked out of the house past 10pm.

But more importantly, being in Facebook jail made me reminisce the prison life in the TV series I used to watch. How people — both criminals and victims of injustice alike — band together in a different, locked-up space, watching the world outside prison quietly. They know everything, they can see what’s happening, but they just couldn’t tell the world the situation they’re in.

Why me?

To make it through the day, I casually searched for people who experienced the same situation — unjustly banned for using a feature that isn’t directly hurting anyone. If I would have said something explicit or any form of hate speech, I would understand. But I didn’t.

“Facebook is just an authoritarian organization doomed for failure.”

If the article I wanted to save and read for later was violating the platform’s nudity policy, then why was 9GAG not reprimanded for posting it at all? Why did it have to be me? Up until today, I still can’t fathom the reason. Not even on Facebook’s useless Help center. It was reading stories that shared the same fate as I did that made me feel better. They made me feel that I’m not alone. “I’ll get through this,” was what I told myself.

It’s funny how being connected through the world’s largest social media platform made it both a good and a bad thing for everyone. It’s good in a way that Facebook helped us maintain the connection and relationships despite the distance. It’s bad in a way that we depend on Facebook to get updates from people through the posts they share and the stuff that goes viral; that we need to stay online and check on everyone through our news feed just so we don’t miss anything that might be discussed in real life.

What I learned

The ban was lifted after what felt like forever and I learned my lesson. It’s like being given a second lease on life. But what I learned, first and foremost, is to never use Facebook’s save feature. Without any strict, proper guidelines on what constitutes a ban according to their policies, Facebook is just an authoritarian organization doomed for failure — a dictator deciding what to censor without any justifications or proper explanations.

Of course, it’s their platform. They can do whatever they want with it, but Facebook is more than a platform. It’s a whole new way of connecting with everyone around the world. A lot of realizations dawned on me through this incident, and there is one more lesson to learn here: Life without Facebook can be a good one, too. One where we rely on real, physical, and intimate connections. One where we only catch up with the people that truly matter.

Now I know what people feel like when they claim they have found freedom after deleting their Facebook accounts. I’m still far from deleting my account, but slowly, I’ll figure it out. Maybe, for now, what I can do is step away and disconnect, and live a day or two without social media.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on: An expensive sneak peek into the future

It’s not for everyone

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2019 is the year of the foldable phone. First in the ring was Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Announced in February, it was supposed to launch as early as April. As we all have probably read or heard, its early release to reviewers was met with a lot of issues. Samsung had to delay its official launch.

Over the last few months they’ve been busy reworking the Fold; now it’s tougher than ever and ready for the real world.

A reintroduction

In some ways you can think of the Galaxy Fold as a 7.3-inch tablet that you can fold into a candybar phone with a 4.6-inch display.

When folded, all buttons are on the right hand side of the device: volume rocker, power button, fingerprint sensor, and its SIM tray.

On the bottom a USB-C port and speaker grilles.

What’s changed?

Samsung focused on addressing the main issues that plagued its first release. Some users previously peeled off what they thought was a screen protector that turned out to be a very important protective layer. That layer is now tucked under the bezels so you don’t even know it’s there.

There’s also a cap that is meant to prevent dust and dirt from getting underneath the protective layer.

The hinge, too, has been reinforced. The gap between the hinge and the display has also been reduced.

Having used the original Fold, I can say that opening and closing i feels more secure. Even if you feverishly snap it open and close. All these changes have been made to ensure the phone survives the rigors of the real world.

One UI has also been optimized for the Fold. Home, back and multitasking buttons for example can be flushed to either side of the display for one handed use.

To open more windows alongside the app that’s already open just swipe from the right side and use apps edge to launch new apps. Closing windows is one tap or swipe away.

When you’re on an app and a notification comes in, you can press and drag the notification to open it as a separate window, so you can respond to a WhatsApp message easily, for example.

Even if you have two displays you can seamlessly switch between both by enabling a setting called App Continuity. That way whether you’re adding a contact on the big screen, or using your map on your small screen, you can close or open the display and continue what you were doing seamlessly.

Imperfect innovation

While the changes are much improved, the Galaxy Fold is not perfect. The front display is very small and is very hard to type on. I’d use it for things like Instagram, maybe. Even then, I’d benefit from the larger display. Not all apps support the squarish form factor, either. YouTube videos of course will only fill to fit a portion of the display. Although there are games like Asphalt 9, that are optimized to fill the display.

The Galaxy Fold doesn’t use a glass display, so there will always be creases in the middle. That’s just a limitation of the technology.

Otherwise, make no mistake — its a top of the line device. It’s got high end specs, and the same cameras as Samsung’s current flagship smartphones: three rear cameras and two selfie shooters up front.

Wireless charging and reverse wireless charging are also available, along with a few other bells and whistles.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

I am excited about the Galaxy Fold, and am thrilled that it’s full steam ahead. It’s an early device and it can get only better with time. What needs to happen now is app developers and Android need to optimize for this new, niche form factor.

With a price tag of US$ 1,980 in the US, SG$ 3,088 in Singapore, and PhP 109,990 in the Philippines, the Galaxy Fold is not for everyone — not even for people who can buy it outright. It’s for early adapters who want to get their hands on new technology ahead of everyone.

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Entertainment

Hotel Del Luna, Frozen 2: Now Playing

Get ready to have a magical adventure this November!

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November started pretty magical. Right after Halloween, a lot has happened in the tech scene including the birth of the 108-megapixel monster, the Mi Note 10, and the resurrection of Motorola razr. In the midst of all these momentous launches, our team still found the time to catch up on the latest in pop culture. Here’s what’s Now Playing in GadgetMatch!

Movies to see

 

Frozen 2
MJ: After six years, the most-awaited sequel is here to give us one last magical adventure. Set during the fall season, the film is about the adventures of Queen Elsa and her cohorts, seeking the truth about the past in order to protect the kingdom of Arendelle from a new threat. In between their adventures, we were rewarded with bursts of laughter, heartwarming lines, scenes that made us hold onto our seats, and lessons about change.

Frozen 2 — despite being a film made for kids and kids at heart — is a bit heavy for a Disney movie, with Elsa, Anna, and the rest of the crew enduring an emotional journey. However, the film is a call for us to go out of our comfort zones, head into the unknown, let our guard down, take chances, and risk in the name of love.

 

Ford v Ferrari
Kevin: The movie revolves around two special individuals — visionary car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and the fearless racer Ken Miles (Christian Bale). It was based on the historic Le Mans race in 1966 and tells the story of how car manufacturer Ford, wanted to beat the dominating cars of Ferrari and succeeded. Of course, with the help of Shelby and Miles.

Damon performed really well portraying his character but Bale completely transformed himself into another person yet again so you really feel the life of his character. Apart from that, another thing that stood out was the film’s sound design and how the cars’ engines roared and zoomed past you as if you were actually there. It’s simply an entertaining piece for all ages and a very refreshing movie about cars and racing without the overload in testosterone.

 

Knives Out
Luigi: Nothing beats a traditional whodunnit story. This oddjob of a story comes from The Last Jedi’s director, Rian Johnson. Like most mystery stories, everyone is a suspect and everyone is trapped. However, the story’s uniqueness comes from its wit and its stellar cast including a Chris Evans doing very non-Captain America things.

Shows to binge-watch

 

Hotel Del Luna
MJ: If you’re struggling with moving on, Hotel Del Luna is worth the watch. With themes about letting go, resentment, forgiveness, and love, it’s difficult not to fall in love with the show and its characters. It also has stunning cinematography and captivating soundtrack that would give you a different high even after you watched it. While people are iffy since it’s the talk of the town, this K-drama is definitely worth the hype. It’s one of the best shows I’ve watched this year, hands down.

 

La Casa De Papel (Money Heist)
Chay: Whether or not you’re a fan of foreign language material or stories about heists, there’s more to love about La Casa de Papel also known as Money Heist on Netflix. It tells many stories — stories of love, hope, inequality, injustice, and friendship. You will fall in love with one or two or three characters from the series. While a robbery sounds so wrong (it is, in fact, very wrong), you will find yourself rooting for the Money Heist squad to succeed.

 

The End of the F***ing World Season 2
Vincenz: The last season was a cliffhanger, and just like it, there were a lot of unexpected events that happened in the second installment of  The End of the F***ing World — including several new characters. The portrayals of Alyssa and James may look apathetic but it’s for us to realize that actions speak louder than words, and there is always a bigger picture behind. I’m not trying to spoil but one thing I learned (that serves as a reminder for everyone): Say what you feel before it’s too late.

 

Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!
Chay: I grew up watching shows about makeovers — from Clean House to How Do I Look? to Shabby Chic. Queer Eye is basically all those makeover TV series from the 90s combined, and more. Set in Tokyo, the latest season feels like Terrace House meets the Fab 5. Despite the language barrier, the stories of the heroes this season are just as heartwarming and inspiring as their American counterparts.

 

Fleabag
Chay: Fleabag is a comedy that often breaks the fourth wall to involve the audience in her mishaps. Her character is often perceived by everyone in her life to be up to no good — who fucks up everything — making her very relatable. The entire series is only two seasons long with six episodes each, making it an easy binge when you’re stuck in traffic.

 

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
MJ: One of my favorites, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow took a magical turn as the heroes — well, they call themselves Legends — save the world from demons and magical creatures. The troop travels through time to fix and destroy these fugitives in order to protect history. It’s time to refresh your memories and binge-watch it before Season 5 begins in January 2020!

 

Watchmen
Luigi: HBO’s Watchmen was a huge surprise for me. As a fan of the original comic, I initially thought that this sequel series was either a weak adaptation of the original or an unnecessary sequel. Fortunately, Watchmen is a hugely entertaining balance between its own story and fan service. Old fans will delight in the numerous references to comic events. New fans, however, will appreciate the timely story deeply embedded in racial politics and technological progress.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

 

Frozen 2 Original Soundtrack
Chay: Only time will tell if any of the new songs in the Frozen sequel will be a hit like ‘Let it Go’. My favorite in the soundtrack is ‘Lost in the Woods’, mostly because of the cheesy, albeit poignant, sequence in the movie featuring straight white male Kristoff. After belting it all out, Sven, his reindeer best friend, tells him, “Your feelings are real. Feel what you feel. Let your guard down and let your feelings out.” Toxic masculinity, whomstve?

 

Modern Love
Chay: New York Times’ popular column was recently adapted into an Amazon series and while everyone has been raving about it on my feed, I haven’t had the time to watch a single episode yet. Its podcast counterpart, however, is much easier to access and digest as the episodes are all available on Spotify. Each essay is performed by actors, and the authors also get a few minutes at the end to talk about their stories. Reading Modern Love articles has been my go-to commute companion for a while now, and having a podcast to listen won’t change that anytime soon.

 

Bomb by AleXa
Vincenz: AleXa is a Korean-American who recently made her debut as a K-Pop soloist. Unlike any other K-Pop song, it heavily relies on electronic sounds and heavy bass. Her powerful dancing performance and vocals add up to the invigorating song. The music video gives me a Cyberpunk 2077 vibe (and even the same feels as 2NE1’s ‘Come Back Home’).

 

Dumb by BVNDIT
Vincenz: BVNDIT (pronounced as bandit) continues to prove their female dominance with their latest upbeat, Latin pop song. Digging into the lyrics, it talks about a guy being “dumb” for not having the courage to pursue her — and it actually made her numb. Dark red visuals are dominant, which may signify that their love desire is dying. It gets better as their vocals and synchronized choreography continue to scream “power.”

Games to play

 

Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi: I can hear the groans already. “Of course, Luigi is suggesting Luigi’s Mansion 3.” Well, Luigi’s third outing as a ghostbuster is really one of the smoothest Nintendo Switch experiences I’ve had this year. This massive action-puzzle game is right up every Switch user’s alley. If (a) you have a Switch, (b) you need an appetizer before Pokemon Sword and Shield, or (c) you want a polished platformer, grab Luigi’s Mansion 3.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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