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7 camera hacks to improve your photos

Tips shared through a weekend adventure

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Weekends are sacred. It’s a short amount of time to recuperate, relax, and take care of yourself. You can have some alone time, hang out with your loved ones, or do something fun for the first time. In other words, weekends are a time to enjoy life.

Like every normal person, I hardly ever wake up early during the weekends. I take the time to savor my bed and watch the day unfold. But when it’s time to get moving, I get up and prepare to start my day.

Before anything else, I take a 15-minute swim. It’s a quick exercise to jumpstart your day and refresh your mind from the lingering thoughts while you’re in bed.

Of course, I wouldn’t jump in a pool without taking a photo to post on social media. Luckily, I have a wide-angle camera to use so I can capture the place’s wonder.

Pro tip: Try taking wide-angle shots from a worm’s eye view to make it look like the world is big and exciting.

Not wanting to spend a lot of time on social media, I don’t edit my photos anymore and upload it as is, seeing the vibrancy and saturation of colors are lively enough to give justice to how beautiful the place is. But if you’re going to edit your photos, you can never go wrong with VSCO or Adobe Lightroom.

Weekends give us ample time to rest. When you take advantage of that opportunity, you’ll feel relaxed and consequently, you’ll look good in every photo. That’s why I couldn’t help but take a selfie first before diving in.

Pro tip: Use the camera’s timer and place your smartphone somewhere it can stand, probably a rock or something sturdy. Make sure it has a protective case to prevent scratches or other damages. Lastly, make sure a towel is nearby so you can dry your fingers before touching your phone’s screen.

After an hour of preparation and travel, I went to Makati’s Central Business District. I once saw a post showing how beautiful Makati was during a holiday. There were only a few people and cars passing by.

It gave me the idea to visit it on a weekend knowing the place won’t be as busy as it usually is. I have to say it’s a pleasant experience to enjoy the city on a weekend. The atmosphere was a bit gloomy but it’s fun taking photos while going around.

Pro tip: Make sure to activate HDR to brighten scenes that are unusually dark and against the light.

Ayala Triangle Gardens is a nice spot to walk around and take photos. People are just frolicking, hanging out with their friends, playing Pokemon Go and other mobile games while you hear them chanting and screaming after every win. Some pass by and some sit still, enjoying a patch of nature amid the concrete city.

Considering how limited weekends are, I tried to squeeze in a lot of activities. I feel more rejuvenated when I do a lot of things. This weekend, I tried to host my own surprise party for my birthday celebration.

My friends knew how extra I am in life and in everything I do, and they aren’t allowed to do anything but follow my wishes. While my friends set up the booze and games that we can play at night, I sit down and marvel at the peace this park brings.

Here’s the view behind the park’s entrance. Even when the skies aren’t blue and the city was enveloped in a moody atmosphere, the place was still beautiful.

Of course, I love selfies. Eighty percent of my gallery is comprised of selfies in different angles and lighting conditions.

Pro tip: Don’t be saddened by cloudy skies, take advantage of them. Without the sun’s harsh lighting, your selfies will look balanced since the clouds act as a diffuser. If the photo looks a little bit dark, use light-colored places to bounce light.

Smartphone cameras with built-in filters are a nice thing to have. It adds drama and gives the photo a personality. For quick stories you share, use any social media or camera app’s built-in filter. We spend a lot of time editing our photos only for it to disappear after 24 hours. How about putting that time to better use such as improving your skills in smartphone photography?

As I walked around Ayala Avenue, I passed by this covered sidewalk. Hurrying to visit my favorite coffee shop in Makati, I quickly snapped this photo only to realize it could’ve been better if I stood still and took my time to frame it perfectly.

Pro tip: Find your focal point and utilize leading lines to add perspective. This can be further highlighted by using a wide-angle camera to accentuate the elements. Don’t forget to use filters to set the mood!

Ayala’s underpass is beautiful on a weekend. I was able to magnify its beauty as if it was a scene taken out of a movie, thanks to the wide-angle feature.

One thing I always do when I’m in an escalator is to look up. Few people realize how gorgeous those ceilings are, forgetting the little details in a city’s architecture.

Pro tip: Adding shadows in your photos create a dramatic effect and adds a lot of depth. You don’t have to use HDR all the time.

Since my favorite coffee shop was closed, I went to Starbucks instead and enjoyed a cup of Teavana.

Pro tip: Use glass windows as a background when you use the portrait bokeh mode. It helps with the blurring and it adds more depth.

When I went back to the unit, I was surprised to see my friends prepared. I was only expecting some booze and games, but there was a lot more. Thankfully, the place was spacious enough otherwise I would have had to ask them to compress and use the wide-angle feature once more.

My heart was warm. There was pizza!

Pro tip: Stay away from doing flat lays when there’s a limited source of light. Chances are your shadow will ruin the image. Wide-angles are still a no since the distortion will disrupt the flat lay unless you’re planning on cropping the center part.

Photo-ops are a must for any celebration. Hence, I set up the Vivo Y17 on a timer and asked my friends to compress. Without the wide-angle, we were able to fit in. I’m glad that there are a lot of camera modes to use in different situations.

In celebrating my birthday, I opted to put down my phone and be in the moment. Life doesn’t always have to be uploaded on social media. Sometimes, the best memories are those unrecorded.


This feature was produced in a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Vivo Philippines.

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