Photos: Vina Guerrero

Location: Manila, Philippines

Outfit: Button Down (Markus) | Tank top (Tank) |Sunglasses (SM Accessories) | Socks (Burlington) | Sneakers (Saucony)

Whether you’re a blogger, an influencer, an “Instagrammer” or just love sharing your life online, content is king. I started dgmanila.com with a simple OOTD shot taken at a fire exit in my school and everything took off from there. 7 years later, I still do the same thing but with a few more tricks up my sleeve. When you’re a blogger, you’re also the model, the stylist, the creative director, the writer—sometimes you’re also the photographer (I’ll get into the tricks of shooting with a tripod soon). I wish I could do all these things professionally, but I don’t practice these roles outside of DG Manila. When shooting an OOTD (outfit of the day), you have the creative freedom to do whatever you want. It’s your blog, it’s your Instagram, it’s your brand. I evolved from doing the “whole body, half body, detail shot” formula to having a more editorial direction to my photos.

I recently attended The SM Store’s SM Style Series a couple of weeks ago wherein The SM Store invited a bunch of editors, photographers, bloggers, makeup artists and

stylists to talk about their profession and share the tricks of the trade of their respective profession/s. Essentially, this is a campaign where they focus on individuality in style, character and preferences. So more or less The SM Store invites these professionals to give “training” sessions which can hopefully help the customers assess what will work for them—and what wont.

I attended BJ Pascual’s talk wherein he shared how to create stunning photographs and how to slay your Insta-game. I also attended Mega Magazine’s Peewee Isidro and Angelo de Cartagena’s talk about the 20 style rules they know. I learned so much from them—I was so busy jotting down notes on my phone. This inspired me to share with you a few things I know about blogging, taking good photos, post-processing your photos, curating your Instagram feed, packing for a trip, my grooming regimen—but let’s start if off with how I prepare for an OOTD shoot. Read on below!


Every great OOTD photo begins with a great OOTD. When choosing an outfit to wear for the day, this is entirely up to you and your personal style. I dress depending on my mood, the weather and the occasion. On a regular day, I would go the easy route and wear a shirt, a light jacket and a pair of tailored trousers. Switch it up and experiment with different pieces of clothing. Remember that sometimes what you think is a great look won’t have the same impact to your audience—so keep it interesting. Stay true to your personal style but inject a few little details that would create a strong visual interest. An all black outfit seems easy and comfortable but it doesn’t have much of an impact compared to a printed or layered look. Not all pieces of clothing are flattering when photographed (such as horizontal striped tops, pinstripes, bulky clothes, etc).

Keep in mind that everything has to look cohesive. It should not look like different pieces of clothing with different fabrics and colors all worn together. They should look as if like these pieces were made for each other—and this is where the styling comes in. I cannot stress enough how important styling is in every look. You can have the most expensive pair of jeans but if it doesn’t work with your body or if you style it with pieces that do not go well with each other, then it’s as good as wasting your money.

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A good photo is going to make or break your OOTD. You can have the most amazing outfit on but if you don’t document it with the right tools and the proper tricks, then you just wasted a good outfit. The quality of my content has really improved—and that’s because I invested in a good camera. Now there’s nothing wrong with using your smartphone in taking photos (I happen to follow a lot of influencers and instagrammers who use only their phones in taking photos—and they produce amazing content). I use a mirrorless camera because I post them on my blog too (which needs to be in high resolution). So if you happen to use a DSLR or a mirrorless camera like I do, take the time to read the manual, watch tutorials on YouTube and really know the camera you’re using. Fix the settings and know the right lenses to use so that you don’t need to do much with the post-processing.

Now, who’s going to take your photo? No, you don’t need a professional photographer following you wherever you go. However, if you’re filthy rich, then I don’t see any problem here (lol). If you’re wondering who takes my photos, it’s usually my girlfriend, friends, siblings, mom, or random strangers (when I’m traveling alone). Remember, you are still in charge with the photo you are producing so don’t be afraid to speak up and let your photographer know what your best angle is, how much headroom you want, how zoomed in the photo is, what element you want and don’t want to include in the image, and so on.

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Along with a great photographer, a good location is going to make a huge impact on your OOTD shot. Put time and effort to scout for good locations. This is entirely up to you and how you want to set the scene. Here’s a tip: when choosing a background for your OOTD shoot, make sure it will complement the outfit you are wearing. If it’s a fun and easy day look, you can shoot your OOTD in a hip café or in the streets. If it’s a little more dressed up, you can shoot it behind gray or dark tones (or even at night). If you’re wearing something that has a lot of prints and details, then the obvious choice would be choosing a plain and simple background to really make your outfit stand out in the photo.



Now that your OOTD is on point, you got your camera and your photographer ready, you found a great backdrop, then I guess you’re ready to shoot that OOTD! Shooting can either be the easiest or the hardest part of the process. Why? Because it’s so awkward to shoot around in Manila! When someone sees you taking photos, they’ll either look at you weird thinking “why are you taking even photos there” or joke with their friends “uy o, photoshoot siya” haha at least that’s what goes on in my head. Sometimes, a security guard may or may not come up to you and tell you “bawal po mag picture dyan sir.” Ugh, it’s a dreadful process. Good thing it only takes me less than 2 minutes to shoot a look! Not gonna lie though, it used to take me an hour! That’s because I didn’t know how to work with the settings of my camera, I was not comfortable with the clothes that I was wearing, etc. But once you master all these steps, you’ll kill that OOTD shoot in no time.

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You may have taken quite a few photos wearing that same outfit–okay maybe way too much. Remember that selection is key. People are not going to want to see 5-10 photos of you wearing the same outfit (and in the same location). So choose which photo you think you look best in (also consider if the details of the clothes are seen, the shoes are visible in the shot, etc). Now that you’ve narrowed down your favorites, it’s time for my favorite part: post-processing.

Post-processing is something I never talk about because I feel like every photo is different. My editing style or filter may work for my photos but it may not work for yours (and vice versa). I happen to have a bunch of different filter “phases.” I have a different theme during summer and a different one during the rainy season—most especially when I travel. But post-processing can do a lot for your photos. It adds a bit of character and sets you apart from the others. Just make sure that you don’t over-edit!

Now that you’re done post-processing your photo, it’s finally time to post! If you’re posting a portrait photo on your Instagram, you may want to crop the image to 5:4 so it would fit the dimensions of the Instagram photo (remember to cut all the unnecessary details). Think of a good and engaging caption that would get the attention of your friends and your audience. You may or may not tag the brands you’re wearing in the photo. This can help your audience, especially when they’re looking for a similar piece! In my opinion, regardless if you’re not a blogger or not, there’s nothing wrong with tagging the brands that you’re wearing. The brands can take this as a compliment because you’re promoting their brand to your audience and you are making content for them. Who knows, they might like your content and even collaborate with you! Next step? Put in the location, click that “share” button and there you have it! Your well-composed OOTD shot is live for everyone to see!

sm_5All items I’m wearing in this post are available at The SM Store Premier in Makati, Aura and Megamall
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