As a Mum, I am terrified at how quickly my children are growing up. How do I tackle this? By taking as many photos to capture their childhood as possible.
Remember, the best camera is the one you have on you. It’s all very well having a fancy DSLR with multiple lens attachments, but if it’s constantly flat and never sees the outside of the camera bag, you are never going to be able to capture those magical moments that happen in your daily lives.
Although I have a DSLR, most of my photos are taken on my iPhone X. Whether you have this model, another iPhone or different smartphone, most phone camera these days are capable of taking pretty amazing photos.
Read on for my 15 Top Tips For taking great photos of your kids with your phone.
1. Cameras At The Ready
The first thing that you will need to do is ensure that your phone has enough space to take those amazing pictures. There is nothing more annoying than having the perfect shot on your screen and not enough space on your iPhone to save it. You can check how much space you have on your phone by going to;
Settings – General – iPhone Storage
Make sure that you do this from time to time and delete any unused apps, videos or photos to leave plenty of space.
2. Keep It Clean
May seem obvious, but before you take photos, make sure that the lens on your iPhone is clean. A quick wipe of the lens with a cloth, or even the corner of your t-shirt will mean much clearer photos.
3. See The Light
Phone cameras are pretty amazing in good natural light but do not do so well in lower lighting conditions.
If you are indoors, where possible try and take photos near the windows. Try and stand so that the light is coming from behind you, just remember not to block it entirely and cast a shadow.
If you are outdoors, there will be plenty of light for your pictures. If it is an especially sunny day, look for a slightly shaded area to avoid your kids squinting at you.
4. Fake The Light
If you are taking photos in lower lighting conditions, a diva light that clips on your phone is a cheap and simple way to add some instant light and improve the quality of you otherwise potentially dingy pictures. The lights can be put on either facing away from you towards the subject of your picture or towards you for those Mummy & offspring selfies.
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5. Think About Background
So many nice photos ruined because there is a mess in the background. Obviously for those hilarious, in the moment shots, there is rarely time to move the ginormous pile of laundry that is lurking in the background, but when you are taking a specific photo, take a moment to consider the background first.
A good tip is to take the photo of where you plan to position your child without them in it first. This will allow you to see how the rest of the photo will look before involving your child and eating into their inevitably short window of time where they may actually cooperate.
So move any mess out of shot and stack it behind you. Pick a plain-ish wall, or even hang a blanket as a backdrop. A minute or two or thought before taking your shot will mean that your photo is far more likely to be fram worthy.
6. It’s All About Blur
If you have the iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus or X, try taking photos in Portrait Mode. This is a clever mode that photographers use to focus on the subject of the photo (in this case, your child) and blur out the background.
If you haven’t got one of the iPhone models with portrait mode, you can use the “Focus” camera setting in Instagram to blur the background.
7. Get Down To Their Level
Photographs of children are often so much better when you take them from a different angle. Try lying on the floor, taking it from slightly below, or even directly overhead with them looking up. By trying some different angles and generally playing about with how you stand, you will get much nicer pictures.
8. Turn On The Grid
If you go into the camera settings on your iPhone, you can turn on the grid guidelines for when you are taking photos. This is helpful for either centralising things in the shot or using the “rule of thirds”, which suggests that photograph composition should have the subject in either 1/3 or 2/3 of the shot to make a picture that is pleasing to the eye.
9. Use Live Photos
I would highly recommend taking photos using the “live photo” mode. This mode captures 1.5 seconds both before and after the shot is taken.
Live Photos can be turned on by toggling the Live Photo circle at the top of the camera screen.
Not only does this mode give you a photo that moves (and always reminds me slightly of those moving paintings in Harry Potter), capturing just a little bit more of the moment, it helps you select a better still too. You can press “edit” in the top right-hand corner of the photograph and then choose the best frame from the 3-second clip.
10. Take Too Many Photos
Gone are the days where we used to point and click then send away the film, only to find out weeks later that we don’t have one single shot in focus. The beauty of digital photography is that we can take endless photos then delete all of the ones with closed eyes/ not looking at the camera / totally out of focus.
My challenge to you is that next time you take photos of your kids, take 10 extra frames. Snap those few extra shots and you are far more likely to get that perfect moment captured.
11. Keep It Natural
Asking children to stand still and smile nicely for a photo is rarely ever going to turn into a beautiful photograph. Instead, try asking them to do some fun things; ask them to jump, tell you a joke, twirl, play peekaboo, anything to inject some natural life into the moment. In my experience, it’s these playful shots that turn into the best pictures.
12. Prop It Up
It’s always nice to have a few things to hand to enhance your photos. I love using a letterboard to add messages into photos, especially to mark special occasions.
Other props can be used to help engage your children, such as bubbles, scarves or their favourite toys. Whatever you use, props can be a fun way to liven up your family pictures.
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12. Fix The Spoilers
We’ve all been there. We FINALLY get that gorgeous photo of our child where they are clean and in focus and actually smiling and looking at the camera and there is something spoiling the photo. It could be a light switch or something similar but in short it, it stops your photo being frame worthy. Fear not, there are apps for that.
Pixelmator is a great app for editing out unwanted things in your photos. As you can see, this first photo is nice, but if I wanted to put it in a frame, I would prefer to have a totally plain background.
In this second photo, I have edited out the light switch and brightened the photo with the app. It only took a few seconds, and suddenly I am left with a much nicer picture with fewer distractions.
13. Take The Inappropriate Photo
When your child has got themselves into a total mess at meal times and has food in their hair – take the picture. When they are having a tantrum because they want someone else’s lolly as well as their own, take the picture.
While it is nice to have those pictures of your kids where they are clean and shiny looking, there is a lot to be said for capturing the reality of the every day too. Capture every moment, you will never regret having taken too many photographs.
14. Save The Memories
This is so important – BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS PEOPLE!! Phones can be replaced with insurance, photos full of memories cannot. I use iCloud to backup not just my photos but my whole device and would thoroughly recommend it.
15. Share The Memories
You can add photos to shared photostreams to share with friends and family. Not only does this mean that your photos are digitally backed up, but it is a nice way to privately share them with selected individuals.
We display our photo stream photos on our TV screens via our Apple TVs, turning the television into a sort of giant digital photoframe. The children love the photos of our trips and days out flashing up, it’s a great way to display pictures.
Get In The Picture
So give it a go! Implement these 15 tips and you will be left with much clearer and more beautiful photographs of your children.
One final tip to remember – while it is lovely to have these gorgeous photos of your offspring, please PLEASE try and get into some of the pictures too. So many Mums I know take positively thousands of photographs of their families, yet are hardly ever in any pictures themselves. As I talked about in my Mummy Moments Photo Challenge, you will never again be as young as you are today. When your kids look back, they won’t care if your hair was a mess or if you weren’t wearing makeup, they will just want to see that you were there.