Photography for Beginners with Khalil Ramos

While we are all in community quarantine, many have taken this time to learn a new skill or a new language. If you are one of those who chose photography to stay productive, then let Khalil Ramos up your game!

Back in April, the Kapamilya actor had a photoshoot with his girlfriend titled “Zoom Quarantine Series”. Using the video communication app Zoom, a tablet, and whatever props he could find at home, Khalil managed to shoot four different concepts at home. Now, you can do this too with the help of his three-part tutorial on photography for beginners!


Basic SmartPhone Photography

Before investing in expensive cameras and lenses, try using your smartphone! This everyday device is already capable of taking stunning photos, even if it is not the latest iPhone. You just have to unlock its potential. “Get to know the tool that you possess,” the Make It With You star explained. This is how he started off too.

The settings depend on each phone, but generally there should be grid lines that you can active. Something as simple as how to hold your phone when taking photos can also make or break a beautiful picture. For the more advanced photographers, you can download other camera apps and buy additional lenses.

Typically, you would want to go on photo walks for practice. Visit busy locations like Binondo or Makati during the golden hour which is 4:30 to 6:30 in the morning and afternoon. “’Yun ‘yung best window kung saan napakaganda ng sunlight,” he explained. Lighting is crucial, but you do not want to take photos when the sun is too high. So, avoid 11:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon. During this community quarantine, however, you can still practice photography indoors! Explore different angles. Use your family as the subject. Get creative.


Fundamentals of Photography

Once you are more familiar with your smartphone, it is time to learn some fundamentals—exposure, lighting, composition. Generally, smartphones tend to overexpose an image which makes the raw photo too bright. So, Khalil advises underexposing your subject. This will help retain the details later on. Lighting is another crucial aspect. “Make sure whatever you’re shooting has ample lightning,” he continued. Dramatic aesthetics will need lower exposures while vibrant pictures will need higher exposures. Feel free to play with the shadows. Find the source of the light and then reposition the subject to create different moods.

Composition refers to the arrangement of elements in the photo. There are different ways to compose a photo, but these are Khalil’s favorites. The most basic and easiest composition follows the “Rule of Thirds”. With the help of your smartphone’s grid lines, the photo is divided into thirds which helps the audience focus on the subject. The “Rule of Symmetry” is all about straight lines and balance. The “Frame within a Frame” is when your subject is within a shape that frames it likes windows or entrances.

There are other styles on compositions. Do your research, experiment, and have fun. “Take and take and take until you find what works best for that particular image,” Khalil said. The goal of a picture should be creating a story. “Kung walang istorya, it won’t be excellent dahil walang mararamdaman ‘yung audience mo,” he added.



The last step before sharing your photo is editing. Instead of using preset filters, here are Khalil’s tips on how to manually edit a photo to make it even better than Instagram worthy. For post-processing, the apps he uses are Lightroom and Retouch.

First off, when cropping your picture, do not cut off your subject. If you plan to post the photo on Instagram, the ratio should be 4x5. Otherwise, the social media app might cut off certain parts of the image. Adjusting the exposure should be your last resort! If you want to make it more dramatic or add contrast, adjust the highlights, shadows, whites, or blacks. These tools give you more control. When changing the colors or saturation, Khalil usually starts off at the most extreme setting and then slowly decreasing the percentage.

There are also tools that can erase certain objects or even the blemish on your face. Although, the Kapamilya star prefers to make his pictures as natural as possible.

“Take whatever you can from the knowledge that I’ve shared with you and use it to your advantage. And teach it to other people too,” he stated. Photography is a fun and beautiful art form, but it also takes time. Aside from these technical aspects, there are also different styles of photography like editorial, landscape, and sports. It took Khalil around three years to discover his style, street photography which aims to capture the realism of the world.