After experiencing pregnancy loss a year before her birth, there’s just been something special about our daughter’s arrival in the world. Since she was born, the urge to document our life together runs deep. It’s why photography speaks to me so passionately, and I want to capture every moment of our time together and bottle it up for us to reminisce later.
I own all the fancy gadgets and gizmos to take professional photos. The big DSLR camera, an assortment of lenses, remotes, tripods, light reflectors, etc… You name it, I’ve probably seen it, tried it, or own it.
But, I’m realizing more and more that photo taking and memory making isn’t about snapping perfect professional photos. More often than not, aiming for perfect photos pulls me out of the present moment. So instead of pulling out my fancy camera equipment these days, I’m opting to preserve my memories in the most accessible way that fits into my mama life.
I’m using my mobile phone.
And I bet you are too.
When it’s time to get everyone dressed and ready to get out of the house, I bet you don’t want to be bothered with remembering to pack the camera, or with carrying one more thing (that’s kinda big and bulky) in your bag.
Your phone is small, fits in your pocket, and is likely always with you. It’s easy to re-tell your life’s story when you can guarantee that camera will be on hand.
So instead of wishing and worrying about making your photos brighter, less blurry, and more professional (because I know you are), let’s learn to rock the camera you know will reliably be by your side, yes?!
6 Easy Tips to Take Better Smartphone Photos
1) Adjust the light
As you’re framing out your image, move your camera around and watch how the light changes and shifts on the scene. Many times, the image will brighten and darken in the frame depending on how the light is coming in through the phone’s lens. On my iPhone, I can also tap the screen to adjust the brightness and exposure. If I want to brighten my daughter’s face, I simply tap it on the screen and the camera will work it’s magic to adjust accordingly.
2) Enlist all 5 senses
Don’t for get to take shots of the details. How does the moment you’re living smell, taste, hear, touch, and look? It’s just as important to take images of our kids as it is to capture their surroundings as well. By enlisting your senses, you’ll ensure that years from now you’ll be able to remember these moments just as if they happened yesterday.
3) Vary your perspective
I try to change up how I take an image, whether that be close-up, taking a step or two back, getting a wide view of an entire scene, looking up, looking down, or getting at eye level. By adding variety to our images, we’ll avoid having 20 of the same set up and add interest to any life story we’re trying to tell with our phone photos.
4) Know your phone’s shortcuts
The exposure trick I share in #1 is just one of the many shortcuts my phone offers me for snapping images. On my iPhone, I can also use my ‘volume up’ button to take a photo instead of using the round button on the screen. But if I do choose to use that big round button, and I push and hold it, my phone enters ‘burst mode’ where it will take a series of many shots at once. I love burst mode when my kids are in action, so I can hopefully get one image that turns out. A friend’s LG phone has a ‘selfie mode’ where a series of hand motions on the front facing camera will activate the shutter (cool!). Each phone different, but a bit of poking around Google will help you uncover what shortcuts you have available!
5) Don’t be afraid to delete
In the moment when you’re running after your kids and snapping their pictures, you likely won’t have time to stop and delete out all the bad snaps. And sometimes the thought of deleting any photos of your kids can induce panic. But trust me; you DON’T need 100s of pictures of your kiddo eating their PB&J at the park. So, why not get into the habit of deleting some images during your mama downtimes, when you’re in the grocery checkout line, the waiting room at the doctor, preschool pickup, etc…Those are typically times when I pop open my email or Facebook for a quick check in, but instead I’d be so much more productive if I gave my photos a quick sweep and delete instead.
6) Edit your favorites
Before I share my favorite snaps on Instagram or Facebook, I like to give them a quick edit. My absolute FAVORITE editing app is iPhone-only and is called ‘PicTapGo’. But I also love ‘Snapseed’ which is available for both iPhone and Android.
Hope you enjoy these photos of your beautiful family! And don’t forget to get them off the device!
Are you holding your photos hostage on your device? I’m guilty of this, but working hard to change my ways with in the coming months to preserve and print more of my phone photos. In fact, I’m hosting a sneak peek mini class available through December 7th! Learn more here.
DURING THE TWO WEEK FREE MINI-CLASS WE’LL EXPLORE:
*A manageable system for organizing and backing up your phone photos
*A simple project to get them printed and preserved
*Support and accountability through 2 live web events
*A creative project involving the entire family behind the lens
Beryl Ayn Young is a wife, mama, teacher, and photographer offering photography lessons and classes to nourish the mind, body, and soul. She is the creator of the Momtographie, Radiate and Embrace Photography Courses.