TAKING pictures is more than just pointing the camera toward a subject and then “clicking.” More than learning about the technical stuff, photography is about telling a story through the lens.

In celebration of National Photography Month, here are insights from some of Cebu’s notable photographers for those aspiring to have a career in photography or those who simply want to take their photography game to the next level.

“Be observant. When traveling to a different place, paying attention to your surroundings helps you get interesting shots. Aside from taking photos of tourist spots as a whole, try to wander your eyes around the vicinity. You might discover those captivating moments such as the locals, their routine, culture or maybe your soulmate (if you’re looking for it, who knows?). Another is anticipation. It is one of the key factors in getting the perfect shot. We don’t often get lucky in capturing ephemeral moments but when you are able to anticipate it earlier, you’ll get a higher chance of getting one. Therefore, this is very useful in almost all genres of photography. Third is going for uncommon angles. Generally, when I shoot portraits, I tend to look for other angles that could also work. In that way, you could challenge yourself to be more flexible and creative. Last, it has always been my mentor’s trick in which I have learned throughout the years of photography experience: Sometimes, you just have to do something in order to achieve the shot you want, considering the universe is not always in our favor.” - Rocky Roska, Street/Travel/Lifestyle photographer

“For me, the hero dish and plating are the keys to taking great food shots. Composition needs to be practiced all the time to get the perfect frame. Good lighting is also important to emphasize the texture and colors of the dish. Using proper shadows can enhance a photo by adding depth and visual interest. Also, as always, practice makes perfect.” - Oliver Echevarria, Food photographer

“Photography, like many other things, is a form of expression of an idea, a feeling and, even the more elusive of all, emotion. So you keep that in mind. You’re trying to say something without actually saying anything whether for yourself, someone else, or a client. You use whatever it is you have wherever you are at that moment to try to express that. Like any other skill, practice is key. Learn the rules and learn when to break them. Keep learning. Keep shooting like that camera is your eye.” - Zeke Sullano, Lifestyle photographer

“Education and experience will always be your best teachers. But most importantly, embrace the process of learning and growing. Don’t get too caught up with the technicalities, at the same time don’t put aside the importance of learning the rules. Photography should be something that allows you to express yourself. Remember that achieving a great photo is a process in itself. Embrace it and enjoy it.” - Joseph Ong, Commercial/Fashion/Conceptual photographer