Lady Shutterbugs

Venice Piazza was the perfect place for a photo op. The European inspired architecture could bring out the creativity from anyone. The building had Roman Pedestals, Turkish arches, and English towers. Cobblestones lined the floors which made it more reminiscent of Europe, along with a modern twist. Venice Piazza is a beautiful shopping mall. This is probably the reason why the June/July Passion Series of Belle de Jour Power Planner was held there.

Themed as Shutterbugs Unite!, it was about learning basic photography and further developing our interest towards it. The speaker was Ms. Angela Nina Barcelona of MediaWorld Creatives Co. (

I was one of the lucky fifteen girls who got an invitation to this exclusive event. The organizers instructed us to send an email of the best photo that we took. I personally didn’t expect that I would be chosen. I only have a digital or also known as point-and-shoot camera. Surely, other girls  owned a DSLR camera and they could take better photos with it.

But then, I thought that I won’t hurt to try. So I sent out this photo (shown below) of a white rose. This shot was taken using 6MP Canon Powershot point-and-shoot camera in digital macro mode. Afterwards, I edited it using the autocorrect  option of Microsoft® Picture Manager because I am not familiar with Adobe® Photoshop®.

About a week later, I received an email from Tonee of BDJ saying that I was chosen. Yay! I was very happy! I started to believe that anyone can be a photographer, whether they own a simple digital camera or a professional DSLR.

True enough, I saw other girls in the event using point-and-shoot cameras too, though the majority had DSLRs. Ms. Barcelona shared some techniques and tips on how to improve our photos. She discussed the most relevant topics while making it fun and interesting at the same time.

Our speaker:

I would like to share to you the discussions that we had. These were taken from our speakers slides. I had to be fast in taking down notes. (^_^) Ms. Barcelona started off with the Ten Photography Techniques:

1.       Move in Closer –subject should fill the frame to understand the photo better.
2.       Be quick –shoot right away to capture fleeting emotions
3.       Compose with Care –strive to lead the eye along an interesting path through the photo with the use of strong lines or patterns
                                        -The Rule of Thirds –is to put to use by dividing the rectangular shape of your scene into nine smaller rectangles and to avoid putting the subject at its center

Ms. Barcelona showing us an example of The Rule of Thirds:

4.       Be selective –discern your interest and center your efforts on getting the best photo of the subject
5.       Focus on the Subject –incorporate a good depth of field
6.       Experiment with Shutter Speed
7.       Look at the Light
8.       Watch the Weather
9.       Be bold -...but be wise! Use the right camera for your trips
10.   Keep it simple! –Remember, you’re making memories to have fun

The next topic was the kinds of photography. It was very generous of our speaker to give us three tips on how to improve our skills in taking photos of each type.

Kinds of Photography:

A.      Landscape Photography
Three Tips:
1.       Foreground interest –include a subject to add appeal
2.       Rule of Thirds –helps achieve a balanced composition and makes the scene easier to the eye
3.       Lead in Lines –compose the scene so that features like railway lines, shorelines, etc., run from the foreground interest towards a main focal point

B.      Portrait Photography
 Three Tips:
1.       Change/ Consider perspective –you can take a full body, face, etc.
2.       Create a candid look –gives a more mysterious nature and quality to the subject
3.       Observe your subject –keep him/her relaxed and watch out for unique, interesting gestures and expressions

C.      Sports Photography
Three Tips:
1.       Know the sport –so that you can have effective camera angles
2.       Capture the interactions between teammates
3.       Look for the unexpected

D.      Still Life Photography

Three Tips:
1.       Composition and background –should be one or two subjects at a time
2.       Lighting –still life photos use the play of light and shadow effectively to convey the ‘story’ of the picture.
3.       Fill the frame –to avoid cropping valuable pixels later on

E.       Food Photography

Three Tips:
1.       Shoot from a lower angle so that food looks more majestic
2.       Crop in tightly –simplifies the shot, makes it more tactile, makes it easier to see the details, and lessens the need for props; compose in the camera as much as possible, don’t rely too much on Photoshop®
3.       Take a LOT of photos –is the best way to ensure you get the perfect shot

F.       Street Photography
Three Tips:
1.       Be observant of your surroundings
2.       Be ready with your camera because events won’t repeat themselves
3.       Street Photography etiquette –respect the privacy of the people, always ask for permission if you want to take photos of them

G.     Architectural Photography

Three Tips:
1.       Read between the lines –look for architectural symmetry to tell the story of the subject
2.       Waiting for the weather –try different times and weather to see what works most
3.       Take time to get the best angle

H.      Events Photography

Three Tips:
1.       Know what you’re going to shoot before you shoot it –visualize; have a general idea of what shots you would take before the event
2.       Capture the story of the event –get behind the scenes; take shots of before, during, and after the event
3.       Get as close as you can to the action –shoot fast

I.        Travel Photography
Three Tips:
1.       Be prepared! –with SD cards, batteries, etc.
2.       Explore the area –get oriented by taking a  2-3 hour guided bus tour of the major sightings; or read online reviews prior to going there
3.       Shoot people pictures –take photos of people, along with architectural buildings and landscapes

Ms. Barcelona gave us extra tips on how to care for our cameras. She suggested to handle it properly and buy cleaning kits for it. “Cameras are expensive”, she said, “so we must all take care of this valuable investment.”

We then proceeded with the workshop. Darlyn of Belle de Jour gave us five topics: Venue/Banner, The Speaker, BDJ Girls, a new friend, and something interesting. Ms Barcelona further told us to also take five photos from the kinds of photography that we discussed.

The pictures that I have shown so far in this blog entry were my workshop photos. But there is still one more that I haven’t shared to you. This next photo is something interesting that caught my attention:

As seen in the photo above, a gray dove is perched on a very tall pedestal. I was inspired by its majesty –for it to be so high and unreachable was amazing!

After the short workshop, Ms. Barcelona then showed photos and asked us to compare our perspective of it before and after the seminar. To my surprise, she called me to answer…

(Photo courtesy of Ms. Lovelin Tiongson)
….but all I could say was, “Sorry I was late so I don’t have any idea…” Wehehehe….(^_^)v

She also gave constructive criticisms to the photos taken by the BDJ girls who volunteered to show it. Ms. Barcelona shared tips on how to improve each photo and along the way, gave us a sound advice: TO BE ALWAYS PASSIONATE AT WHAT WE ARE DOING, NOT JUST IN PHOTOGRAPHY BUT IN EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE.

It was Darlyn who ended the day by giving us a homework to upload our photos in the BDJ Facebook fan page ( and to add another photo to answer this question: “What is your Plan B?”

Hmmm… it was a difficult question. I didn’t have any idea, and furthermore… I was busy taking aftermath photos –of my fellow BDJ girls and of the organizers too. :)

Yay! A group photo! I will never forget this event. I'm sorry I can't give the proper credit to this photo. It has been circulating in a lot of photo albums. Thanks to the photographer, you know who you are.

All of us didn’t go home empty-handed. Belle de Jour gave us goodie bags –or envelopes –containing FMN notebooks, a L’oreal sample from Regine’s Salon, a BDJ notepad, and a White Hat® coupon. :)

And my plan B? Hmmm…

I have decided to have a simple one: to save up to buy a DSLR camera and let’s see where that will lead to…

I’m very thankful to the Belle de Jour Team and to Ms. Angela Nina Barcelona for inspiring us to believe in our talents. I love Belle de Jour!



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