HOW TO BE A FOOD INSTAGRAM-ER LIKE A PRO

/ December 13, 2017

Social media is the most common tool used by the companies and known influencers as an approach towards advertising, promotions and monetization. And one of this is the Instagram. Instagram made a hit since the time when smart phones has evolved and developed new features most especially in photography. Because nowadays, you can become a great photographer even with just a click on your smart phone as long as you have a good eye towards your subject.

I had a fun experience last Sunday during Food Style Snaps, a mini-workshop about instgram food and style photography which was hosted by Cebu Finest and Cebu Content Creators. At first, I was hesitant because I am not a pro photography and maybe the only time I can call my self as a photographer was when I became a photojournalist in high school. Moreover, I don't have a good camera and all my photos are taken from my one month old phone.


Nevertheless, I still came and stepped out from my comfort zone. I was glad that I saw a lot of familiar faces as well my fellow bloggers from Cebu Blogging Community. The even took place in this well known restaurant in Cebu - KDD STK + BBQ near Plaza Independancia. They are famous of their Filipino dishes. 

But again, I want to repeat this - I am not a pro but aspiring to be next in line the famous and best photographers in town. So here are the tips that I learned during the workshop.

1. Know your weapon

When you go into the battlefield, a soldier should know how to shot with a rifle or else everything will become senseless. That is the same in the field of photography, you should know your smart phone or your camera. Whether it is the latest unit of mirrorless camera or the latest iPhone but the only thing you know is to press the click button then it will just turn out to be a normal shot like in your dusty photo albums.

Research about your gadget and familiarize the controls and the tricks that are indicated because this will give magic to your photos. Remember, they can have HDR (Pro), macro shots, Panorama and many more.

2. Know your food.


Well, yes, you already have your well-studied weapon but you don't know your subject, you don't know what to shot. You just can't take a shot here and there on all sides irregardless if it is an ice cream, a bread or a simple soup. Take the angle on how you are going to get the heart and stomach of your viewers. Think on what is the outstanding features of your subject.

Like for example, the Crispy Pata. We all know that this deep fried pig trotters or knuckles are known for its crispiness of the skin and so you have to focus on that side and not on its bony knuckles. People go after for the skin and meat and not for the bones. 

3. Less is better


In the workshop that we are taught that it is fine to use props in taking food shots as long it doesn't destruct your subject or overlaps the scene with your subject. In addition, props are great as long it creates an artistic connection with the food. Like this Chinese noodles as being a consistent dish during celebrations and animals as part of Chinese New Year's belief.

4. Flat Lay Doesn't Always Work


This is was the line that was repeatedly mention during the workshop. Again, flat lay doesn't always work and sometimes it makes it senseless as you don't deliver your subject very well. According to Mister Philip of Cebu Finest, you need to learn and familiarize other approach in taking pictures like the close-ups, wide-angle, side-angle and worms eye view. And i love you. Haha. Kidding. Anyway, that is why you always have to remember our second tip which is know your subject. If you are having a cake and you are taking it on a flat lay approach, your viewer won't able to perceive on how tall is the cake, how moist it is, how dark is its chocolate or what are the fillings inside. 

5. Remember the Rules of Thirds


When I had my workshop about photojournalism in highschool, the rule of thirds is the golden rule. This rule proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or intersections. Whew! Thanks Google!  In a simpler note, it's a mortal seen when you place your subject at the middle or inbetween spaced of the nine boxes you've made. Your phone or camera has a grid feature for your to guide. Uhuh! Remember our tip number 1! Know your weapon.

6. Don't edit too much


Together with the upgrades of the camera features in smart phones and cameras, there's an influx of editing apps that surfaced in the application stores and the most commonly used are the snapseed, VSCO, Lightroom Mobile, Afterlight and many more. But always put in mind that we are advertising food in the most honest way as the consumers. We are not like those some TV ads that give false hope towards the true appearance of our food. I think it is safe that we'll just play with the exposure, temperature and contrast or simply those basic edits. Don't use filter that would defeat your purpose as a food instagram-er. 

Moreover, you can play with the light and shadow for contrast. You can have portable lights or the natural light to give a creative look on your picture. And you can enhance it through editing apps.


Turning into a best photographer or something great doesn't happen over night so don't get disappointed when you some of your shots hideous. You just have to practice and practice until you are satisfied, until someone appreciates it, until someone comes to you and buy your shots. You have to start believing in your self that you can do it. And then maybe someone will say - Oh! You're like a pro!

Social media is the most common tool used by the companies and known influencers as an approach towards advertising, promotions and monetization. And one of this is the Instagram. Instagram made a hit since the time when smart phones has evolved and developed new features most especially in photography. Because nowadays, you can become a great photographer even with just a click on your smart phone as long as you have a good eye towards your subject.

I had a fun experience last Sunday during Food Style Snaps, a mini-workshop about instgram food and style photography which was hosted by Cebu Finest and Cebu Content Creators. At first, I was hesitant because I am not a pro photography and maybe the only time I can call my self as a photographer was when I became a photojournalist in high school. Moreover, I don't have a good camera and all my photos are taken from my one month old phone.


Nevertheless, I still came and stepped out from my comfort zone. I was glad that I saw a lot of familiar faces as well my fellow bloggers from Cebu Blogging Community. The even took place in this well known restaurant in Cebu - KDD STK + BBQ near Plaza Independancia. They are famous of their Filipino dishes. 

But again, I want to repeat this - I am not a pro but aspiring to be next in line the famous and best photographers in town. So here are the tips that I learned during the workshop.

1. Know your weapon

When you go into the battlefield, a soldier should know how to shot with a rifle or else everything will become senseless. That is the same in the field of photography, you should know your smart phone or your camera. Whether it is the latest unit of mirrorless camera or the latest iPhone but the only thing you know is to press the click button then it will just turn out to be a normal shot like in your dusty photo albums.

Research about your gadget and familiarize the controls and the tricks that are indicated because this will give magic to your photos. Remember, they can have HDR (Pro), macro shots, Panorama and many more.

2. Know your food.


Well, yes, you already have your well-studied weapon but you don't know your subject, you don't know what to shot. You just can't take a shot here and there on all sides irregardless if it is an ice cream, a bread or a simple soup. Take the angle on how you are going to get the heart and stomach of your viewers. Think on what is the outstanding features of your subject.

Like for example, the Crispy Pata. We all know that this deep fried pig trotters or knuckles are known for its crispiness of the skin and so you have to focus on that side and not on its bony knuckles. People go after for the skin and meat and not for the bones. 

3. Less is better


In the workshop that we are taught that it is fine to use props in taking food shots as long it doesn't destruct your subject or overlaps the scene with your subject. In addition, props are great as long it creates an artistic connection with the food. Like this Chinese noodles as being a consistent dish during celebrations and animals as part of Chinese New Year's belief.

4. Flat Lay Doesn't Always Work


This is was the line that was repeatedly mention during the workshop. Again, flat lay doesn't always work and sometimes it makes it senseless as you don't deliver your subject very well. According to Mister Philip of Cebu Finest, you need to learn and familiarize other approach in taking pictures like the close-ups, wide-angle, side-angle and worms eye view. And i love you. Haha. Kidding. Anyway, that is why you always have to remember our second tip which is know your subject. If you are having a cake and you are taking it on a flat lay approach, your viewer won't able to perceive on how tall is the cake, how moist it is, how dark is its chocolate or what are the fillings inside. 

5. Remember the Rules of Thirds


When I had my workshop about photojournalism in highschool, the rule of thirds is the golden rule. This rule proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or intersections. Whew! Thanks Google!  In a simpler note, it's a mortal seen when you place your subject at the middle or inbetween spaced of the nine boxes you've made. Your phone or camera has a grid feature for your to guide. Uhuh! Remember our tip number 1! Know your weapon.

6. Don't edit too much


Together with the upgrades of the camera features in smart phones and cameras, there's an influx of editing apps that surfaced in the application stores and the most commonly used are the snapseed, VSCO, Lightroom Mobile, Afterlight and many more. But always put in mind that we are advertising food in the most honest way as the consumers. We are not like those some TV ads that give false hope towards the true appearance of our food. I think it is safe that we'll just play with the exposure, temperature and contrast or simply those basic edits. Don't use filter that would defeat your purpose as a food instagram-er. 

Moreover, you can play with the light and shadow for contrast. You can have portable lights or the natural light to give a creative look on your picture. And you can enhance it through editing apps.


Turning into a best photographer or something great doesn't happen over night so don't get disappointed when you some of your shots hideous. You just have to practice and practice until you are satisfied, until someone appreciates it, until someone comes to you and buy your shots. You have to start believing in your self that you can do it. And then maybe someone will say - Oh! You're like a pro!
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Honeymoon must be one of the best periods of your life. You and your partner spending time together after the wedding ceremony, what can possibly go wrong on this lucky time when there's no one else in the world for you except the two of you? Unfortunately, a lot of things may happen. Some people die on their honeymoons, others go to some exotic countries on their honeymoon and get killed by the hurricane. One British couple was spending their honeymoon on Seychelles, and the husband was murdered by the shark right in front of his wife. But let's talk about less tragic things. Even if you don't fall a victim of a hurricane or sea creatures' gluttony, there are a lot of gruesome things that may happen to you on your honeymoon. While statistic claims that couples going on a honeymoon are less likely to divorce, a lot of couples break up right after the honeymoon. And there are two main reasons why your honeymoon can go wrong. One reason is you, and the other is your partner. So, let's have a detailed look how a honeymoon can go wrong.

You May Discover Your Partner from a Different Side

There is always a different side to someone that you've never seen, even if you think that you know that person quite well. And honeymoon may turn out to be the time when you get to know that different side of your partner. Honeymoon allows you to be isolated from all the others, as it is the time that you dedicate solely to each other. Free from all the rites and attitudes that society impose on us, your partner may turn out to be not that pleasant person. And you end up wondering why did you marry this person in the first place? If everything you knew about the person before was just a mask, then this is who she or he truly is? Revealing your partner's true self, you may find it difficult to continue a relationship with a person like that. This is the first step towards the divorce, which may occur right after the honeymoon. So, it is better to get to know your partner really well, before asking “Will you marry me?”. To find out more about love relationships, check out https://yourbrides.com/my-blog/ - a reputable dating blog.

Your Partner May Discover You from a Different Side

Okay, the horrors of understanding that your partner is not as great as you used to think are definitely not the most pleasant experiences. But ask yourself, are you completely honest with your partner? Aren't you trying to be better than you actually are? If so, it is better to reveal your true self to your partner before the honeymoon. It is even better to reveal it to him or her before the wedding if you don't want a painful divorce right after the spoiled honeymoon.

You Discover That You Have Nothing in Common

You may experience a mutual disillusionment with each other while on your honeymoon. That often happens when you are getting married without getting to know each other properly. You've met each other; you've decided that must have been true love and decided to marry right away. For a few months, you've been extra busy with all the preparations for the wedding and the honeymoon, without the possibility to have a word with each other. Then, when it's all over, you suddenly start to realize that you have nothing in common and can't figure out the reason why you should be together. That's why you need to be honest with each other from the very start. You also shouldn't make fast decisions with such far from simple things as love and marriage.

This is a guest post from Alexander Povetkin

Nowadays, people are looking for a quick escape from their hectic life in the jungle city even just for the weekend. However, some failed to do so because they just don't know where to go, thinking that some are not fond of ass-kicking adventures. But hey! I think I know what is right for you. There is a place 800-meter above sea level in Negros Occidental which flaunts the lush green forests of Mt. Makawili. This place is actually a combination for relaxation and adventure which is a perfect venue to spend quality time with your family, friends or dear hearts.
This 5-hectare property of Mr. and Mrs. Tan has been now a famous tourist destination in Negros Occidental. It is said to be comparable to Tagaytay and Baguio due to its climate especially during dark time or early dawn. There is also the time of the year where one can go through the fog shrouding the place. So it is better to bring your cozy warmer coat during those times. But for me, the best time to visit the place is not during the peak season. So that you'll appreciate more the beauty of each corners. Sometimes, during peak season, the flock of tourists in the place can be somehow a bit annoying.
Campuestohan Highland Resort has its unique way in accommodating their guests who wish to spend the night in the resort. Their rooms are build up in different theme and the Indiana Village is my favorite among the rest.
I guess it clearly shows that this is really my favorite because it is the only photos I included in this post. You can spend your Thanksgiving in here while putting up a bonfire and eating a Turkey!
"Kung Fu fighting! Hu! Ha!"
Aside from the themed accommodations of the resort, Campuestohan is also known for its giant displays of cartoon or fictional characters that have hit box office in the movies like King Kong and Kung Fu Panda. I chose not to take an up close of those because people has been pushing in and out just to take a good picture of it. That's one reason why I am telling you not to go during peak season.
The first time I heard about this resort was two years ago when my friend told me that they had their team building in Campuestohan. At that time, there were only few who knew about it and most of them are just from Negros. She told me how great is the place for team building because they have this breathtaking rope course.

I was excited about trying it because I like taking new challenges in each trip I experience but when I saw it with my two eyes, I almost bawled out. I never thought that it would be this high, long and dangerous. Well, not really dangerous as it can be because they have safety measures but I directly said.. no, no, no. My sister is always the brave one and the one who never backs out. So there she goes, a 17-years old petite kid who exerted so much effort and put faith into it. While I am there beneath the course, cheering and taking pictures of her for moral support. She finished it for approximately 45 minutes which is not bad for a first timer. Unlike me, who is a great loser.

While my sister was taking a rest from afar, I roamed around the resort alone. That is why, I never had a picture of myself because I was such a loner. If my sister had conquered her fear of heights through the rope course, I, myself, have conquered my hear of heights through this metallic hanging bridge. Uh-huh! I am proud like that!


There's more to explore around Campuestohan Resort which I haven't mentioned. They got pools, zipline, cart wheel and many more. You can also see these giant chipped off fictional characters which I suggest to be replaced or to be repaired because they are dangerous for some kids. If you have visited this place in the early years, then probably these structures had left you dumbfounded. But if you'll see it's appearance recently then you'll probably think of giving a thumbs down. I hope the management has seen this problem because actually they really gives an additional attraction for the people.
The only happy ride I've been to is this Merry Go Round. They're not only for the youngsters but they can be also for adult like me! It is less dangerous but more entertaining (for me).

If you want to know more about this place and for updates, you can visit their website at http://www.campuestohanhighlandresort.com. Ciao!

Every time I hear the place Guimaras, there's only one thing that comes into my mind and that is the fruit mango. Guimaras Island is coined as the Mango Capital in the Philippines because of its more that 50,000 mango trees that are planted in the island. Guimaras is located on the southeastern section of the West Visayas region. It was only a 15 minute ride by a motor boat or a 25 minute ride by a RoRo departing from Iloilo City which amazed me on how you can hop to one island if you want to have a quick getaway.

THE SMALLEST PLAZA

Since we were having a short vacation in Iloilo City, we didn't miss the opportunity to have a quick tour in this small island. And our first destination was their famous The Smallest Plaza. True to its name, it was really small. This was actually earned a title in the Guiness Book of World Records and it only measures 200-300 square meters. It looks like a small play ground for kids if you'll imagine it with swings, seesaws and slides.
Aside from the stage, it features a small statue of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Well, everything was really small. Well, maybe they'll have small chairs, small tables and small set up during programs.

TRAPPIST MONASTERY

Our next stop was the Trappist Monastery which is run by the monks who follow the rule of St. Benedict and are best known for the extreme strictness that characterizes their discipline. They sell souvenir items and processed foods with mango as their main ingredient. It could be in a form of jellies, jams, candies, piyaya and more which are sold within the monastery grounds. It was also said that their products are heartily made by the monks and nuns.
The place is very cozy and peaceful. You can tour around the monastery grounds and visit their prayer areas. We were encouraged to talk with the monks and nuns for they are very friendly and accommodating. However, during our visit, there were only few of them I can see around and I was too shy to approach them. This Monastery is located in Brhy. San Miguel, Jordan which is approximately 20-30 minutes from the port.

GUIMARAS ISLAND HOPPING
Alubihod Motor Banca Owners Association (AMBOA) booth or the Island Hopping Station

Since we only allot a half day tour in Guimaras, our tour guide dropped us in a near beach resort which is called Alubihod Beach. This resort is one of the jump off points for island hopping. The sea was very inviting that time however we didn't bring any swimming attires and it wasn't really in our plan.
Credits to: Iloilo Travel Guide
Here are the rates for the island hopping:
10 pax/500php for the first houw plus 150php per succeeding hour
15 pax/700php for the first hour plus 300php per succeeding hour
20 pax/1000pphp for the first hour plus 300php per hour

One of the divers told me that you can actually haggle the price if you come less than 10. He also added that you can visit the islands for a total of 3 hours since they are just near from each other. I heard great reviews about the island hopping and every peso your spend will be worth it.

MANGOES AND MORE MANGOES


There are a lot of stories I have read about the legend of the mango but I here is my favorite one. It is a boy who has a golden heart who was kind and a helpful lad who was nurtured well by his parents. However, one day, the boy got ill and he eventually died. One day, a fairy came to his parents and asked for his heart. His parents agreed and his heart was buried in the faraway mountain which then turned into a fruit-bearing tree and tasted so sweet.
As you can see, the shape of the mango is shape like a human heart. Maybe that is how the legend was crafted into a heartwarming story. Maybe that faraway mountain was one of the mountains of the Guimaras, right? Because their mangoes taste so sweet that it makes me want to get some more. They also had different products made of mango which I recommend for all the tourists to try.
There's a lot to visit in Guimaras but unfortunately, we only had half of the day to go around because we need to catch the fast craft in the afternoon. Nevertheless, it didn't compromised the fun we had during the tour because Guimaras is such a wonderful place to visit. And before I forget, you should grab their sweet mango shake that can be bought on the roadside stalls. I assure you that it is different from the other mango shakes you have tasted in your entire life!

Ever since senior clerkship started, my social life has slowly vanished as days go by. I could barely enjoy my whole meal without the feeling of exhaustion from duty. My meet ups with my old friends are constantly being rescheduled from next week to next month until it becomes impossible. I have missed a lot of gatherings, birthday celebrations and a lot more. I guess they were right that if your are Medical School, you got to know your priorities. I thought my personal life will be affected most especially that I am in a Long Distance Relationship with my boyfriend. And oh, speaking of my boyfriend, our travel plans have been postponed until next year. As you can see, we don't have any recent travel posts because of senior clerkship.


But I am lucky enough to have a man like him who would travel from one island to another and spend less than 48 hours just to spend quality time with me. We are almost four years now but I still get butterflies in my stomach the same thing I had the first time we went for a date. The start of our love story wasn't the same in the movies but we started smoothly which makes smile every time I think of it. I never thought that I would fall hard for a person who was once a stranger in my life. 


What amazes me most is his never ending efforts on making me happy. He has his simple ways and grandiose ways on making me feel love and safe under his spell. I would often tease him that he sneaked in some love potion on one of my drinks which made me say "yes" to him. We love going on formal romantic dates most especially during special occasions like birthdays, monthsaries or anniversaries. During my 25th birthday, we spent our dinner in Scap Skydeck. We got a taste of Mactan Cebu's premier sky lounge and roof deck restaurant. We used to spend the night with a bottle of beer but the place was perfect for a glass of wine. The perfect view of the city lights, the flickering Mactan Bridge and the cold breeze completed our dining experience.


The food was a bit pricey but it was definitely worth it because you don't usually spend a night with this kind of view and dining experience in your work place. Scape Skydeck is a quick escape from the busy life we have in the city. I could say that this was one of my favorite dates we had together and we would love to go back for another glass of wine.


Falling in love is one of the most magical feelings you'll ever encounter in your whole existence. Every little thing turns out to be more meaningful. Simple messages like hi, hello and good morning are like sun rays that brightens up your day. However, staying in love isn't easy as one two three because in a relationship, there are ups an downs. What makes it worth it is that you both are fighting and keeping everything up together.


I have been in a long distance relationship for almost three years. My boyfriend is working in Negros Island while I am here in Cebu, studying Medicine. It has always been a notion that when you are in Medical School, you can't afford to have a time for your partner. But hey! I am already in my fourth year yet we are still going stronger and fatter. It is just a mixture of understanding, patience and time management.


Last February, my boyfriend and I decided to celebrate the love month at Sirao Garden which is also known as The Little Amsterdam in Cebu. I have heard about this place for almost a couple of years and been seeing pictures in the social media. I thought that this place would be perfect for couples out there to go on a date and I was definitely right about it!


The Sirao Garden is filled with these colorful ornamental plants, the Celosia flowers. Celosia is derived from an ancient Greek word, "burning" because of its flame-like flower heads. These flowers come from the Netherlands, that is why it is coined as The Little Amsterdam and has become an official flower for Sinulog.


We were fortunate enough that the habal-habal driver we got was actually a good photographer. He was directing us where to stand and at what angle should we pose. He was also like a paparazzi because he got us great candid shots when we browsed through the gallery. Plus we really look cute with our mickey and minnie mouse couple shirts. You see, I am not fond of these sappy things but there's no harm in adding spice in our relationship.



Sirao Garden is really a cute picturesque spot even though some flowers are not yet full grown. There is also a hammock hanged under the tree where you can chill or wander through the sky. When you visit the place, I recommend bringing bug spray, dress light breezy fabrics and umbrella because it's might rain or it can be scorching hot.


Since we went to the place around noon, we spent our lunch in a little karinderya located near the garden. We both had bopis, corn rice and soft drinks and it was very delicious. It is fun discover new things spontaneously especially when you are with your special someone. This made me fall in love with my partner even more. The view, the simple lunch and the companionship during the trip? I consider it as a romantic date.


HOW TO GET THERE:

If you have your own vehicle, you can drive up the Transcentral Highway or drive up the Busay road until Ayala Heights. You can see a road to the right beside the Nature Park and follow the signs. Well, you can also have GPS if you are having a hard time.

Another option is that you can go to JY Square in Lahug and hire a habal-habal. They charge about 150-200 pesos for a round trip and you can even add 50 pesos if you want to pass by Temple of Leah. You can opt a cab going uphill but the driver will charge you 1,200 pesos for round trip.

or you can have your own alternative transport of choice from CK and J Car Rental.