Cheat Sheet: Forget Filters, We've Got Legit Shooting Advice from Mark Nicdao and BJ Pascual

Cheat Sheet: Forget Filters, We've Got Legit Shooting Advice from Mark Nicdao and BJ Pascual

You can finally hold off on those GAS-like (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) desires to get the latest DSLR, the best lenses, or the latest camera tech in line with your efforts to nail that picture perfect shot. Did you know that the shooting equipment/camera/cameraphone you have right now might just be enough to achieve those #nofilter hashtag-worthy posts?

That's what we learned when we caught up with ace photographers BJ Pascual and Mark Nicdao at Samsung’s Dark Blue event—here's how the pros work it:


1. Make the most of what you have.

Be it the latest model, or a dated one, all cameras have the potential to give you great shots, as long as you know how to best use them. In fact, when BJ travels, he actually takes photos using his smartphone, and still comes up with quality ones. “It’s super handy and super convenient when traveling,” he says.


2. Warming your photos is an easy way to prettify them.

When we talk about warm and cool here, we refer to your camera's white balance, one of the many settings you can tinker around with. For Mark, adjusting your white balance towards the warmer side is a no-fail trick to boost the visual value of his travel shots. “I-warm mo yung pictures mo. Instant beauty ‘yan!” Mark candidly remarks. Always remember: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings, be it exposure, ISO, and your camera's scene settings. 


3. Maximize the magic of good lighting.

While our cameras have limitations, good, natural lighting conditions will help you get past them. Mark says it's important to be aware of lighting conditions all the time before snapping away. His favorite? Sunset lighting!

[related: Cheat Sheet: Perfect that Selfie with These Tips from Photographer to the Stars BJ Pascual]


4. Have a clear vision of what you want to capture.

While you can re-shoot and re-shoot as you "experiment" with your subject, BJ notes that it's very crucial to have a clear vision that will eventually lead to finding your signature photography style. “Yung iba magaling mag-ilaw, magaling mag-compose, but if you don’t have a vision, you become just another photographer,” he adds.


5. Think of your photos as literary pieces.

As the saying goes, a photo is worth a thousand words, and in essence, a great photo goes beyond proper lighting and framing: Your photograph should be able to convey a story. “What you are trying to say is more important,” Mark said. “Say something with your photo.”


6. Love your subject.

Mark puts it best: “Any subject I really like and love…you don’t need a filter for it."


ALSO WATCH: Cheat Sheet: How to Snap Impeccable Selfies, the Georgina Wilson Way


Photographs from and




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