Let’s be honest, we want to carry our “nice” camera around with us but it just doesn’t happen. You see, my day job is a SAHM to my four kids – my overtime job is a Professional Family and Children Photographer. Granted, my nice camera is a little larger than average, but not bringing it along with me was a problem I had even before I went pro. Here I am taking beautiful photos of everyone else’s kids and all I had to show for my family were phone photos!
The solution? I finally decided to just embrace it and learn how to take better photos of my kids with what I did have with me, my camera phone!
Smartphone Photography Tips From a Pro
The reason people say “say cheese” is because that the “eese” sound makes it look like we are smiling (kind of) but it is a sad substitution for a real smile. Ask your kids to talk about something they really like, their favorite thing. Watch how their eyes sparkle. THAT is what you want in your photos! Ditch the cheese and get them talking or playing with something they actually love. When you are really stuck, depending on the age of the child just be silly (or gross), it works like a charm!
Love the Light
Lighting is HUGE when you are using a phone camera! There is only so much light that can seep in to that tiny little lens so you need to compensate if there isn’t enough. If your kids are moving (mine are always moving unless they are sleeping) then you MUST have some good light.
Not enough light? Move closer to a window or go outside. Harsh shadows? Turn away from the light source. Oh, and one more thing, turn your flash off! The flashes on camera phones not only seem to wash out everything in its reach but it also causes red eye and that never looks good in a photo.
It’s All About Timing
Keep in mind the time of day. Is it nap time? If so sometimes I just don’t even try. Is it noon and you are outside with no shade in sight? The shadows at that time of day are harsh and difficult for even a seasoned photographer to wrangle. Keep in mind the timing.
What’s the Angle?
Get down low! I see this a lot. The mommy shot. Shoot! I even used to do it. We hold out our arm and take a photo from our own
perspective with the little one craning their neck upward to look at the camera. Sure it is ok, but look at what happens when you get down low! Get down on their level, on their height and see what happens. All of the sudden you enter their world, see things the way they see them.
Their height and perspective is a big part of who they are right now, so meet them on their level and see how it changes your photos for the better. If anything it is a great leg work out doing all those squats!
Spray Your Shot
There is a phrase that pro child photographers sometimes use. “Spray and Pray” Ha! I can’t say I haven’t thought it (and done it a time or two) with rambunctious kids. Sometimes you just need to take a LOT of photos to get a few you are in love with!
Well, that is about it. Grab your phone and go play with your kids. It takes a little practice but I promise, your memories are worth it!
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Jenni McCarty is a wife, mom of four, l'il bit granola, jean-wearer, iced coffee drinker, home schooler, more than just a little obsessed with photography, frustrated organizer (see “mom of four”) yet ironically logical, Pinterest addict and Facebook follower, sufferer of ADCD (attention deficit crafters disorder), displaced Alaskan. She opened Jenni M Photography in 2012 and she really enjoys blogging about her personal family adventures whenever she has a chance.