6 Manila Photographers Talk Camera Phones and Favorite Photography Apps


These highly sought-after creatives reveal how they get the most out of their smartphones



This already image-oriented world is becoming more and more about visuals. And it’s safe to say the future of digital photography is secure.


Biases aside (and backtracking quite a bit,) those who dove into digital photography at the height of its revolution prove to be some of the most resourceful. They’re the crop of creatives that grew along with the constantly evolving industry: learning how to bend the rules just enough to make the old new again and striking a balance between the fundamental and the forward-looking.


They’re the same crop that can make a summer-themed outdoor shoot work on a rainy day. They’re the same people who can produce stunning fashion magazine covers with just a smartphone. They’re living proof that a vision and a good eye will trump being decked out in expensive equipment any day. And here, we get to pick their brains. Keep scrolling to meet the six Pinoy photographers that validate: “it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer.”



via Jerick Sanchez on Facebook


“I [currently] have two Instagram accounts: My @jerickpaulsanchez account is purely [about] what I see in my daily commute shot in a 16:9 ratio and my other account @jericksanchez is for my professional work. My professional works are mostly portraits and commissioned projects. My aesthetic is classic, portraits that are desaturated or black and whites.”


His Style in Six Tiles

via @jericksanchez on Instagram


When it comes to photography apps, Jerick loves…

“Instagram and Huawei's P9 Monochrome Camera. Instagram gives me inspiration because of the people I follow. You [also get to] edit photos there and post things in real time. The Huawei P9 Monochrome camera is my favorite ‘cause its B&W feature is way better than the other camera phones. It has a really dramatic contrast and shadow to it.”

Taken by Jerick using a HUAWEI P9. Photo via @jerickpaulsanchez on Instagram


On camera phone tricks of the trade, Jerick says...

“Know your aesthetic and [grow] from there. Never be afraid of composition. Be always inspired and aspire to do better.”



via @iamjeffong on Instagram


“My style or approach in photography is minimal. I love to keep it clean and simple to keep the focus on the subject and its details. My strength when it comes to photography [is] fashion, but I'm expanding my skills to food photography as well.”


His Style in Six Tiles

via @jeffong_ on Instagram


Jeff swears by…


“When it comes to editing my photos, I use the Adobe Lightroom and Snapseed apps since they are very easy to use and you can adjust detail by detail.”


Shot with an iPhone 7 Plus. Photo via @iamjeffong on Instagram


When using a smartphone to take photos, Jeff says...

“Know your subject in order to frame it well. Do some research and preparation before the shoot (backgrounds, props, etc.) Lastly, just keep it simple and be sure to have proper lighting for your photo.”



via @tarishzamora on Instagram


“I like editing photos with a darker treatment—a bit bluish, less saturated and contrast heavy.”


Her Style In Six Tiles

via @tarishzamora on Instagram


Tarish’s favorites:


“When taking photos, I usually just use my iPhone’s normal camera, but my favorite photography application for editing is VSCOcam! I love how it can achieve the treatment and the tones that I want my photos to have. It’s also very easy to use. My usual go-to presets are HB1, HB2 or M5 and I just adjust the settings.”


Taken with an iPhone 6s. Photo via @tarishzamora on Instagram


Tarish shares…

“First, always make sure that everything’s straight when taking photos using your phone camera. Since it’s easy to take photos with, people usually forget to check the alignment of the photo and a photo’s alignment make a huge difference. Second, always find your light. Your phone camera can only do so much. Make sure to look for different light resources (may it be normal or artificial) when taking photos with your phone camera to make it well-lit and less grainy.”



via @dookieducay on Instagram


“I strive for the kind of photography that’s clean, sharp and proportioned, but still communicates the mood and beauty of the subject.”


His Style In Six Tiles

via @dookieducay on Instagram


Dookie swears by…


“I use Beauty Plus for quick skin touch-ups especially for portraits shot with my phone. The app can smoothen the skin but still retain the texture and you can adjust it based on your preference. The other one [I use] is Snapseed. The app can do selective editing: you can adjust a specific color or part of the photo, [for example].”

Photographed with a Huawei P10 Plus Dual Lens Camera. Photo via @dookieducay on Instagram


Dookie says…

“Using the raw photo option on your camera is always [a good idea]: It’s like the negative of a photo, so you can retain the texture, color and exposure. Second tip: as much as possible, try to use the manual model of your camera. You can play with the shutter speed and ISO to give you a specific effect (for example, if you want to do light painting.) Lastly, when taking portraits using your phone, try to move around and try different angles and perspectives.”



via @erwincanlas on Instagram


“As a fashion photographer, I can say that my aesthetic is very juvenile: unorthodox and features weird croppings. It's also clean as people often point out.”


His Style In Six Tiles

via @erwincanlas on Instagram


Erwin always uses…


“VSCO and of course, the well-loved Instagram. I love VSCO because it's a very easy to use photo editing app (with amazing customizable presets) and because I get to emulate film photos with it. I love Instagram because it's an app that I use to showcase my work and show a little bit of what's going on with my life.”


Shot with an iPhone 6 plus. via @erwaanx on Instagram


Erwin’s camera phone tips and tricks:

“Composition is key: It's what makes your subject look interesting. Whether you tilt your camera a little bit, go full-on close-up or do weird croppings, these are tools to make your photos stand out and they're tools to create a story. One photography trick is to smudge the lens of your camera phone: it creates this hazy dazed kind of feel.”



via @shairaluna on Instagram


“Even though I do a lot of commercial/advertising and editorial work (posted separately on @shairaluna_manila), I try my best to make my personal Instagram account a good reflection of the images and stories I enjoy creating. I think it's quite easy to tell from my personal feed that I'm really comfortable shooting many different styles, although people say they remember or recognize my retro styling and photography the most.”


Her Style In Six Tiles

via @shairaluna on Instagram


Shaira’s go-to apps:


“The two main photography apps I have on my phone are Snapseed and PhotoGrid. Since most of the photos for my social media feed are already prepared on my desktop before being transferred to my phone, I find that these two apps are enough for any on-the-spot minor tweaks and resizing/cropping that I decide I need to do. They are simple to use, and are also sufficient for adjusting photos that were taken on my phone.”


Taken with an Asus ZenFone Zoom. via @shairaluna on Instagram


Shaira says…

“I'm definitely more used to DSLRs than camera phones (I really get nervous when people ask me to use their phones! LOL), so when I use the latter for taking photos, I try my best to utilize the Manual Mode in order to have more control over the images. Of course, when there's no time to fiddle with that, I flip back to Auto, find good light and just try to get the best framing possible!”



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