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By Raffy Paredes

  • Tai O Village (Brenda Arcenas)

  • Colorful New Year (Karl Davin Hui)

  • Untitled (Ivy Joy Bautista Santos)

  • Always (Cindy Diaz)

  • Untitled (Jose Miguel Lisbona)

  • Rose (Jin Dela Cruz)

  • Light and Dark (Miguel On-onod)

  • Untitled (Robin C.Tuazon)

  • Moving Colors (Helton Barretto Balairos)

  • Silhouette of my Daughter (Gino Esmeria)

    Here’s something to try if you haven’t done it yet—bracketing. It used to be that bracketing only referred to exposure but has now become an umbrella term that can apply to a number of other camera settings. Bracketing is the process of capturing multiple takes of the same scene, applying slightly different settings to each capture. In exposure bracketing which aims to improve dynamic range, you can set your camera to shoot typically three to five shots, each at a different exposure. Combining the underexposed to overexposed photos in post-processing and using the best bits of each will produce a final image that is perfectly exposed top to bottom.

    In the same way that exposure bracketing can create photos that exhibit greater dynamic range, focus bracketing can produce photos that exhibit greater depth of field and detail—qualities that macro photographers are often in search of. Focus bracketing is a technique that works by capturing several images at different focal points along the subject. A tripod is necessary because you want to keep the subject in the same position throughout the shooting process. Exposure will be constant; only focus will change. To complete the bracketed image, you will need to stack them in post-processing.

    White balance bracketing allows you to take multiple images of a scene at various color temperatures. This might be useful in mixed lighting situations where auto white balance doesn’t work so well. If you’re shooting raw, however, you won’t need to bracket white balance as it can always be changed later.

    With flash bracketing, you can take several photos of a subject at varying levels of light intensity from a built-in (pop-up) flash or a speedlight. This can be useful particularly in lowlight settings when you aren’t sure what amount of flash will properly expose your photo. Flash bracketing is also used by some interior photographers to get perfectly lit rooms while keeping aperture and ISO constant (Lightstalking).

    For newbies with cameras that can shoot RAW, here are five reasons from David Flores why you should be doing so instead of shooting in JPEG.

    1. The highest possible image quality can yield the highest quality edit.
    2. Exposures are easily adjusted by “many stops,” with shadows and highlights quickly recovered.
    3. Sharpening and noise reduction goes “a lot further.”
    4. Artifacts in your image (such as banding) are easily smoothed out.
    5. Files are future-proofed, allowing you to return and edit again later with improved software.

    Flores explains that a raw file is an “uncompressed file recorded directly from your camera’s imaging sensor.” Due to the lack of compression, the files are a lot bigger than their JPEG counterparts. However, there’s a huge amount of breathing room in your post production. Watch David Flores explain each point in a two-minute video on YouTube (PetaPixel).

    Little Photo is a free Android app that is packed with features. It has more than 70 filters (all free), ranging from dramatic black and white to “flawed” film with more to be added in updates. You can stack different effects to create unusual images.

    For those who want to experience shooting film but do not have an analog camera can try using Kudak Pro. The app looks like a point and shoot with a small viewfinder. You can choose instant photos to see your photo right away or wait from 1 hour to three days for your photo to be “developed.” The app comes with filter themes, light leaks and 3D effects.

    And now to our featured readers led by three new photo contributors.

    Gino Esmeria of Taguig City shares “Silhouette of my Daughter” taken at Manila Ocean Park last month. “I think one of the most important in photography is to photograph your family and your loved ones, capture and treasure the best moments of your life,” he writes.

    Ivy Joy Bautista Santos, senior accountancy student and lens artist at The Defender, the official student publication of Bataan Peninsula State University -Balanga Campus sent in an untitled photo of Aeta children. Photo was taken in Pilar, Bataan near Mt. Samat National Shrine during a feeding program.

    “We were at the end of our walk and the end of the break water when I chanced upon this person and a friend enjoying the lights from some boats at the horizon,” writes Jose Miguel Lisbona about his untitled night photo. “I loved how the sunflower hair clip/tie matched well with her blouse and dress. At the time, I was practicing my off camera flash/slow shutter speed technique. I fired a shot or two and this was the result.” He also shares a haiku he had composed to describe the experience of shooting the photo. “After the sunset/By the breakwater, we walk/Sunflower setting.”

    Other photos come from previously featured readers.

    Robin Tuazon, a deaf and mute (SBMA) gaphic artist specialist shares an untitled portrait of a young girl. He writes that while communication is a constant struggle in his life, his photography helps him express himself. With his lenses, he can discover the wonderful elements of nature, reassuring him that “life is beautiful—full of miracles and blessing.”

    Brenda Arcenas, an OFW currently working in Hong Kong contributed the photo, “Tai O Village” taken in Tai O, Hong Kong. “Tai O is a fishing town, partly located on an island of the same name, on the western side of Lantau Island in Hong Kong,” Brenda explains. “Currently the fishing lifestyle is dying out. While many residents continue to fish, it barely provides a subsistence income. There is a public school on the island and most young people move away when they come of age. In 2000, a large fire broke out destroying many residences. The village is now composed mostly of squatters’ huts and dilapidated stilt houses.” Brenda shoots on her day off work to relieve the stress of a six-day work week.

    Jin Dela Cruz sent over the close up photo, “Rose.”

    Helton Barretto Balairos of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo submitted “Moving colors” a photo of fiesta dancers.

    The black-and-white street photo titled “Light and Dark” comes from Miguel On-onod.

    Karl Davin Hui shares “Colorful New Year,” a fireworks display above the city’s skyline.

    And from Cindy Diaz is the sunset photo titled “Always.”

    Readers may now view issues of Picture Perfect including this column at For comments, suggestions or just to share an image or idea, email or

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