As a blogger, I am always teased whenever I pose and post pictures on social media – “wow blogger pose!” I’m not sure how to react, honestly. Most of the times they sound sarcastic, but occasionally I get messages asking how I took those photos and what cameras did I use. Most of them are aspiring bloggers.

I always say “you just point and shoot and don’t overthink it.” Candid photos are still what I prefer when it comes to personal blogging. All my photos are not planned. I don’t usually crawl around just to get the best shot. For my portraits, I just usually ask a guide or someone I was with and just take the whatever shot. I even have a weird, awkward posing habits. My raw shots are not so good, I just spend time editing the photos.

If you don’t have the time to take shots, there are sites where you can download free stock photos for your blog. What is a stock photo, anyway? Stock photos are made available for license by paying a fee to both the artists and the agency managing them. There are also free images that are up for grabs across the internet. They are a great resource to get high quality and cheap to free photos that you can use in your blog, just make sure to read the terms and conditions on using them. Some of the sites I know are listed below:

Gratisography | Jay Mantri | Magdeleine | Negative Space | Pexels | Pixabay | Unsplash

Disclaimer:
The owner of this blog is not responsible of any additional information on posted and re-posted articles sourced to and from external pages reflected herein. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information found on outside links provided on this site, is not liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information, and is not liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this outside information. Read more of the blog disclaimer here >>

While you can get beautiful stock photos online for free, it’s still best to post pictures you took yourself specially when you are writing for reviews and experience. In this blog I curate all personal stories and pictures I take using low-key gadgets. Low-key meaning I don’t have fancy drones or SLRs that produce super high quality photos you don’t have to make a heavy make-over on them. For the curious minds, I listed below the stuff I use for practice as a beginner and things I do to improve my photos.

What cameras do I use

Questions from readers: What camera did you use for taking this photo?

I’ve been asked the same question for n times already, and I almost always say “my phone”. I always have my phone in my bag or pocket and every time I want to take pictures of something, my phone is my go-to camera. But I also have a DSLR and an action cam for food and travel features. In this section I wrote about what and why I use these devices.

Nikon D5300 (kit lens) – Yep, I use just a kit lens. This is my first and only HDSLR as of writing. We’ve been together for 5 years already and she’s just doing just fine. She’s my favorite not only because she captures and gives me more than what I want for a photo – quality. Learn more about its full feature here. >>

What I like most:
Can produce quality photos.
Manual setting gives you even more beautiful photos.
Long battery life. (I don’t have spare battery, but one can last for two to three days!)
Wifi connection enables me to download and edit and share photos easier.

Cons:
SLRs are too heavy for non-pros like me especially when backpacking.
Difficulty on setting ISO, shutter speed, etc. for beginners like me. (So yeah, I rely heavily on post-process edits.)

Possible upgrade: Mirrorless camera! Still can’t decide what to buy.

  • Shot with Nikon D5300. Processed with VSCO with a4 preset. | © The Mhayonnaise
  • Shot with Nikon D5300. Processed with VSCO with a4 preset. | © The Mhayonnaise
  • Shot with Nikon D5300. Processed with VSCO with a4 preset. | © The Mhayonnaise
  • Shot with Nikon D5300. Processed with VSCO with a4 preset. | © The Mhayonnaise

Xiaomi Yi 1 – Xiaomi Yi is a cheaper alternative to Go Pro. Many tech reviews say Yi is the Go Pro killer as it sells waaaaaaaay cheaper than the oldest Go Pro. My Yi is already, I think, 4 years old. I bought it for 7k (Php) but now they’re selling it for as low as 2k, mainly to give way for the upgraded ones. Learn more about its full feature here. >>

What I like most:
Fits in my pocket.
Can produce quality photos.
Minimal edits bec shots are vibrant and normally bright.
Wifi connection enables me to download and edit and share photos easier.
Cheaper waterproof case.

Cons:
You’ll need spare batts or at least a powerbank. (Mine lasts for only half a day.)

Possible upgrade: Xiaomi Yi 4k+


iPhone 6s – I got my iPhone via Globe postpaid. It’s screen has been broken for almost 6 years already but it’s still working very well. Unlike other Android phones (based on experience, because I usually get my phones broken lol), iPhones are fragile, but even with cracks, they still do their job perfectly. Learn more about its full feature here. >>

What I like most:
Fits in my pocket.
Can produce quality photos.
Minimal edits bec shots are vibrant and normally bright.
Can edit right after I take the shot.

Cons:
Not water resistant.

Possible upgrade: iPhone 7s or XR or XS Max


Huawei P10 – I got this as a free device from Globe postpaid, honestly because anything Apple was not available. Not a bad decision to renew, though. Huawei, so far, is one of the mobile phones that could bring you great, vibrant photos on the spot. Learn more about its full feature here. >>

What I like most:
Fits in my pocket.
Can produce quality photos.
Minimal edits bec shots are vibrant and normally bright.
Can edit right after I take the shot.

Cons:
Not water resistant.

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How I edit my photos and the apps I use

Questions from readers: Do you always edit your photos?

I rarely edit my photos because: 1) I like the photos as they are; and 2) I’m too lazy to click and tap and adjust. In this section, you’ll notice I don’t use Photoshop or other photo editing programs for desktops. I, 100%, edit my shots using my phone/s with free and/or paid apps. Listed below are the apps I usually use.

Snapseed – If I got the time and courage to do so, I only modify four essential factors: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Structure. With these essentials, I will be able to make my photos more lively and pretty. I use Snapseed to achieve such. This is also my most-used editing app for Instagram and for the blog. Download the app here: IOS | Android

VSCO – I also like retro or film effects for certain photos like what I got for our previous Las Casas shoot. VSCO does the job very well. Also, I try to store and share all my photos there as a gallery whenever I get time to update the account. Download the app here: IOS | Android

Phonto – Inserting texts is also one way to make your image look better on blogs. It also makes your shots unique especially of those pictures of super “famous” places. Like what I did in this article for one of the most-photographed view, specially now that I don’t have my official watermark yet. Download the app here: IOS | Android

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14 things I do when taking travel photos

Questions from readers: Can you share some tips on how to take better photos? I just started blogging and I worry about the quality of my shots.

First of all, DO NOT worry about how good your photos are especially when you’re just starting. Focus more on your content writing. Pictures just help to attract viewers, not actually readers. I always see paid bloggers with not-so-good photos, but they’re still going up. Do not worry too much, but work and practice your pieces. From there, natural talents and skills will just bloom and then everything will follow. Take it slow!

In our age, almost everyone is already familiar with the basics of photography – point and shoot. You pull out your phone from your pocket and just tap one or two sides of the screen. But if you really want to document a memory, better make the photo look better and you’ll want your quick snaps look their best.

All my camera settings are set as “auto”, unless I have time to change and adjust. For example, taking photos of the outside view while I’m in a moving car, “action” or “burst” mode help so much. If I’m on a shoot where I have several minutes to find a good angle, I’d try and explore the manual mode. But whatever mode you’re using, there are things you should keep in mind.

1. Use natural light, as much as possible. Especially for travel photos – landscape and portrait. I know it’s a bit tricky. It took me years to understand how natural light works and how to play with it. Light is one of the most important factors of any photo. If you can make use of a natural, white light, it will expose more the beauty of your subject.
2. Adjust and change focus points. You don’t have any problem on adjusting focus when using an SLR or a mirrorless cam. It’s also easy to do the same with newly-released phone cameras.
3. Learn the rule of thirds.
4. Ask permission. I love portraits, but I don’t get to practice it so much. Maybe because I am a shy person, and I don’t want to be rude just taking photos of random people without asking for permission. Except your subject is not a particular person or group of persons, you must ask them first if you can take pictures of them before taking the shot.

5. Take candid shots. Unscripted poses are still the best when capturing a memory.
6. Embrace natural frames. Draw attention to your subject by using this technique in your photograph.
7. Play with reflections. This is often done by travel bloggers documenting a portrait along the edge of a pool of water or along beautiful mirrors. Some also play with light reflections and it’s even more than beautiful. Being honest, this is not an easy trick. But I am practicing.
8. Shoot high quality. Avoid zooming.

9. Set your camera to burst mode or action mode. When I am on a roadtrip, the action mode or burst mode is my most-used. I like taking pictures of the road, a farm, the mountains, the trees. Work with what you have. Don’t overthink it.
10. But never get pressured by your idol’s equipment. I shared what I am using because people asked, and to let everyone know it’s okay not to have really expensive gears. I mean, if someone can afford to, why not. But instead of thinking you don’t have the “right” stuff, work on what you already have.
11. Carry a small tripod or “octopod” for selfies and groupfies.
12. Get inspired. Some of my inspirations are found in Pinterest.
13. Make sure your lens is clean.
14. Take shots of little things. Some of the random shots I take are the ones I get for the blog. These kind of shots are more realistic and full of life.

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WRAPPING IT ALL UP
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travel and food blog photography for beginners

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of upgraded gadgets. It’s just that spending a lot for those is not in my list of priorities right now. But that doesn’t mean I cannot do photography for the blog, eh?

I shared this to let you know blogging isn’t impossible to do even if you don’t have the latest gadgets to work with. I hope this article inspired you to pursue writing without getting intimidated by others who are already able to upgrade their stuff. Because at the end, we all just have one purpose: to share stories, share knowledge, and share inspirations.

How about you? Are you also a blogger? What cameras do you use for your blog articles?

5 thoughts on “How I take and edit my travel and food photos for the blog

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