3 Photography Tips I Learned from Neal Oshima

3 Photography Tips I Learned from Neal Oshima

Are you often dissatisfied with the photos you take with your camera, tablet, or smart phone?

Well, you’re not alone.

I personally hate majority of the photos I take.

Even the great Neil Oshima realized during his college days in Connecticut that a really good photo was difficult to take.

He saw a bird in the snow and he took a photo of it.

And guess what?

He wasn’t satisfied with it.

That’s how his passion for photography started.

I would like to thank the bird for catching Oshima’s attention.

Just imagine if he did not encounter the fluffy fellow.

We could have been living a world with one less photography master.

So what are some of the tips that I learned when I met him.

Pagkaing Filipino Gallery of Neal Oshima in SM City Cebu with Raul Arambulo

Yes! Your eyes are not fooling you! Neal Oshima looks like Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid! Flanking to his left is Raul Arambulo of Costabella Resort

Neal Oshima Photography Tip Number 1: Invest on light.

If you’re an iPad mini user like me, you can relate to this tip especially if it’s night time.

Our iPad’s doesn’t have a built-in flash so if we try to take a photograph on very little or no light at all, the pictures are very grainy and are poor in quality.

Neal Oshima said that you don’t have to buy the expensive ones because even the small camera-mounted LED lights will do.

I tried using flashlight from my bar phone and it did wonders on my food photo taken during night.

Neal Oshima

Neal Oshima also told me that in order to make food look more interesting, we should use backlight to give emphasis on the texture and lines of the food. So I tried it on this green glass and I think I it worked!

Neal Oshima Photography Tip Number 2: Use natural light.

Sometimes, when you use artificial light, the intensity of the colors might fade or turn dull.

So if you are trying to take a closeup photo of food or something, he suggested that we should use natural light.


Because he said the colors are better.

Neal Oshima Photography Tip Number 3: Turn a boring stuff into something interesting.

If something has been done, it tends to be boring.

Take for instance, you want to photograph the lechon.

Just taking a photo after it’s cooked has been done for thousands of times by amateur and professional photographers.

So to make things more interesting, Neal Oshima did something to our favorite lechon.

He took photos every hour from the time the lechon was mounted on the grilled until it was cooked.

The result?

An amazing lechon photo of course!

Cooking Time (Lechon) by Neal Oshima

Photo Title: Cooking Time (Lechon). This was taken when Claude Tayag cooked this lechon in Bale Dutong, Angeles, Pampanga. Neal Oshima spliced the photos together to make a composite.

While looking at his exhibit, I found other interesting photos.

Locavore Ulang Bisque by Neal Oshima

Photo Title: Locavore Ulang Bisque. This was Chef Farrah Ylagan’s rendition of bisque made with local ingredients.

Tamban by Neal Oshima

Photo Title: Tamban. These are dried sardines found in a local market in Naga City, Camarines Sur. Kept looking at this photo with one cup of rice running on my head.

Rizal Menu by Neal Oshima

Photo Title: Rizal Menu. Chef Rob Pengson applies his molecular gastronomy techniques on this appetizer from the Rizal Menu.

Neal Oshima’s photos made me appreciate everyday food and its beauty when captured in photos.

What can you say about his photography tips?

Do you find them useful and practical?

As a last note, would you dare tell Neal Oshima that he looks like Mr. Miyagi when you’ll meet him?


  1. Lightening is my biggest problem. We do not have a lot of natural light downstairs so I try to take most photo’s outside int he natural light. I do need to invest in some lightening though.

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      Yes, going outside to get light is a great thing to do. Me too, I need to invest in lighting. ^_^

  2. Really cool stuff. Thanks

  3. Heather

    19 June

    I think the photos are interesting. I’m dapling in photography and I always think I could have got a better shot.

  4. I could use all the photography tips I could get. Lighting is also a big issue for me. The lighting in my house is so low.

  5. Though these tips aren’t new to me, it’s good to be reminded once in a while. Lighting really brings effect and adds quality to a photograph. I usually go for the natural light.

  6. I am still learning with my new camera to focus someday. Love your image and tips interesting post.

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      Getting used to your cam will take a while but once you do, there’s no stopping you from taking great photos Patrice! Thanks for the compliment! ^_^

  7. Franc Ramon

    20 June

    I guess light is really important when it comes to photos. It’s really important to invest in light or be aware of the proper use of natural light.

  8. LOL…I’d totally tell him! I’m not much a photographer, but my grandmother, who was born in 1912, really was and it’s strange to see how easy it is to take a photo now, but photographers still hate half the pictures they take 🙂

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      I can still remember the days when we had to buy lots of film and wait for our photos to be developed. Time flies really fast, doesn’t it Sharon? ^_^

  9. Michelle Hwee

    20 June

    What great tips! I definitely did learn quite a bit. I am not a photographer but I do take photos for my blog.

  10. I think I take good pictures. I just wish I knew how to use some of the extras that my camera has on it.

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      You can read the manual but it’s better to talk to a friend who’s really savvy on cameras Beth. ^_^

  11. Elizabeth O.

    20 June

    These are wonderful tips. This will be a great resource for new photographers.

  12. These are great tips! This will be very useful to my daughter who loves to take photos.

  13. seftiburcio

    21 June

    Natural light is the best way to come up with great shots. Most especially with my daily OOTD’s, I need to have a good light to achieve good shots!

  14. John Lopez

    21 June

    I’m so glad that you’ve learned, me too because of this post. Thank you for sharing it.

  15. Jojo Vito

    21 June

    good tips. for bloggers , I guess it would be great to attend a basic photography course offered by professionals in your locality. It really helps 🙂

  16. OY HZ

    22 June

    Great tips! I totally agree with using natural light as much as possible, i keep that in mind for my blog/instagram photos. No amount of artificial lighting can make things look as good!

  17. Photography class was part of my course in college, and there I learned about the importance of light. So yes, I agree with the points shared by Mr. Oshima. Natural light is always best!

  18. Renz

    22 June

    How cool! I really do take bad photos, I have some nice ones but most of the time, it’s bad. I usually just post in instagram but I am envious of the people I follow there who take gorg photos.

  19. michelle co

    22 June

    i really regret to have missed this engagement. I have been hearing raves about Neil Oshima

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      His photos are just amazing Michelle. If you have seen his covers on Rogue Magazine, mapapa-wow ka talaga! ^_^

  20. Great tips! I’m not the best in taking photos so I’ll definitely keep these in mind.

  21. His tips are really great! I often use natural light in my photographs.

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      I like natural light too! Neal Oshima is right. The colors are better compared to artificial light. ^_^

  22. Yes the light can make a difference on your photos. Thanks for the tips for a beginner like me this is much needed information.

  23. mashleyuy

    22 June

    Great tips, Chanel! I’m still starting out and god knows I’m such a noob. Lighting, as I’ve read, is always mentioned in the different tutorials that I come across. I barely know how to use the flash so this article is probably the world’s way of telling me to study up more! haha

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      Likewise Ash! I still have tons of things to learn about photography but as a beginner, these 3 tips will do. ^_^

  24. Great stuff. Love all the pics.

  25. Nova

    23 June

    I have no experience or learning about photography, but i guess often I got lucky that I captured such a very nice images… Thanks to the tips above I will always remember it.

  26. joy

    23 June

    lighting is very important in photography, I would like to learn about angles, I am a frustrated photographer lol

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      We can always learn tips from bloggers and photographers. If you get the chance to meet any renowned photographer, have the guts to talk to them and you’ll be happy! ^_^

  27. Thank you for sharing. These tips are really helpful. I am only using regular camera and light is a problem to me too.

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      Likewise Jessica. We’ve been having the same problems. I guess It’s really time that I should buy a small light for photography.

  28. Very helpful tips for newbie in photography. Tip # 3 is something my wife should learn. But for me, I will be contented looking at those great photos like those featured above.

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      I also need to learn tip number 3 Papaleng. Boring na kasi ang usual na subjects. Might as well give them a twist. ^_^

  29. Anne

    23 June

    Natural light. Ah yes! I have learned from experience that it does create the best outcomes in a photo. But if natural light is not present, I’m pretty much doomed so I’m still trying to save enough for lighting on top of that new camera. Whew!

  30. Noah

    23 June

    I totally agree especially about natural light. The colors are come out more life-like than any artificial lighting.

  31. Alvin

    23 June

    I love taking photos myself. Thank you for sharing these tips.

  32. Great tips here 🙂 will definitely bookmark this page- thanks for sharing!

  33. Lainybelle

    25 June

    This sounds like me! I so want to learn the ropes of photography so I could press the shutter with ease and breeze.

    Thanks for the lovely share! </i

  34. Nice photography tips! We could surely use these to improve our blogs.

  35. you lost me at backlight hahaha but the lechon looks soo enticing regardless of the cooking stage its in.. lol omg lechon thoughts right now…

  36. caloyolano

    25 June

    While cellphones are good, if possible, you have to invest on a digital camera. Digital cameras have a better flash which is usual in food photography. Even digital cameras less than 8,000 pesos are way better than the over 20k smartphones when it comes to photography.

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      As for me Sir Carlo, the iPhone works well na but yes, if naa pa sila budget to buy a digital camera, it’s an investment worth pursuing pud. ^_^

  37. These are great tips! To take better photographs is just one thing I really want to learn.

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      It can be learned Kaye. Take one step at a time then you’ll blossom into a seasoned photographer. ^_^

  38. Food photography has really been a challenge for me so far. I agree that natural light can do wonders to your photo but I think you also need a good camera (which I don’t have).

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      Good camera does matter but the photographer should be skilled in taking good photos as well. I have heard many professional photographers say that a good camera is useless if the photographer does not know how to take good photos. ^_^

  39. Rea

    26 June

    Interesting lechon photo! True that it’s always nice to see other perspectives and angles of a photograph. Human minds are capable of so many things! I super agree with natural light. As much as possible, that’s what I use. PS: I might be living under a rock but I’ve got to research Mr Miyagi! LOL.

  40. Jazmine

    27 June

    I also have this dilemma with my blog photos because I don’t really take good photos. I think he gavereally good tips and I will try them in my next blog. Hope it works well for me since I’m still learning how to do it.

  41. Thank you for these tips! And yes, I totally agree with no. 2. Natural light is my secret weapon when taking photos. Regardless of whatever gadget I’m using, I always find a way to find access to natural light.

  42. kiatCebu

    28 June

    What I have learned about photography is patience, a lot of patience and passion to it, most importantly then everything follows.

  43. I really had a lot of fun during this event. I learned a lot from the great Neal Oshima and his humor was really interesting. He was also downright straight on his comments and words of wisdom. I should say he is one of the most down to earth and unassuming person I had met. Your tips really boiled down to the basics of taking great photos without compromising quality and texture 🙂


    Lakambini Viajera

    • Channel Marie Imperial

      Yes JL, Neal Oshima is very interesting. Although medyo intimidating iyang dagway, kung mo-start kag ask, motubag ra man pud. Haha! ^_^

  44. Emjae

    29 June

    I always love to hear tips from accomplished photographers. It boosts your passion and improve your craft. Great for you Channel and thanks for sharing his tips. 🙂

  45. any tips for action cap and smartphone users? I’m getting lazy in using my SLR naaah ahhahhaha

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