Welcome to Part One of my Taking Better Photos of Your Children on Your Phone series! As most parents can probably relate, my phone is full of pictures of my son. I am wayyyy better with taking pictures of Perry with my phone than on my actual camera. We are so fortunate now that we constantly carry around a camera 24/7 in the form of our phone. I often think about how today’s infants are going to have thousands of photos and videos of them as children when they grow up. It’s crazy to think about.
As a child, I remember flipping through photo albums and remembering and knowing each picture. Today’s children will just have so many to go through! With technology ever evolving, I do think it’s important to print photos and have them available in a tangible way, but that’s a whole other post…
I do try to be thoughtful when I take photos, and there are things I take into consideration before snapping. The first factor I consider when taking better phone photos is the light.
1. Find good light for phone photos.
Being a photographer, I am picky about the light more than any location or background because the light can make or break a photo. I tell my clients that light is the number one factor that determines where we shoot, and I only shoot at specific times of the day outside. Have you ever taken a photo and wondered why the light looked bad in the photo? Our eyes can adjust to bad lighting much better than any camera, so we have to be cognizant of the light when we take pictures. I could talk about light alllll day, but below is a quick overview of the best light to take photos in. You’ll be surprised how much better your phone photos will be.
When taking pictures outside, I like to shoot when the light is softest, which is right after sunrise and before sunset. Soft light makes even light, and even light makes less shadows. Shadows will create dark splotches and lines across your subject’s face.
Taking pictures at sunrise and sunset can often be unrealistic when you’re out doing activities with your kids. If you are outside in the middle of the day, find an area of open shade because the light will be even. The term “open shade” refers to an area that is in the shade that you can look up but still see the sky. Buildings, overhangs, and even trees can help provide open shade.
You have to be careful with trees because you can get “dappled light,” or light that has some bright spots scattered throughout. This is the light escaping through the open space between leaves. Dappled light can be a problem because there could be some parts of your subjects that have bright splotches on them, thus creating uneven light. I’ve done family sessions all in one spot of a location due to the shaded light at the time of day we shot!
I avoid taking pictures in direct sunlight because subjects will have harsh shadows and backgrounds can be blown-out. Like I said above, harsh shadows create dark patches and lines on subjects while making the highlights, or bright parts, too bright. Even if that background is amazing, the subjects will not be in their best light (ha…).
If there is absolutely no shade, then I will take a photo with the sun behind my subject. This is called backlighting. The background will be a little blown out and there WILL be shadows, but I think this is the best option to achieve consistent light.
Lastly, cloudy weather makes the light even! Photographers love cloudy weather because it allows us to shoot pretty much everywhere. If you are taking photos on a cloudy day, snap away!
I LOVE shooting inside! When I first started photography, I feared indoor sessions because there was less light, but you really just need to know where to find it. All of my newborn photography is inside, so I’ve had a lot of practice now.
If you are inside, the first thing you want to do is to turn off any artificial lights! Artificial lighting throws off the white balance, or temperature, of a photo. This means that it can make the whites or grays of a photo look too yellow or blue, and this, in turn, affects your subject’s skin tones!
You definitely want to find the areas with the most natural light inside, and this is probably near a window or a door. The closer you are to the window or door, the stronger the light will be. So if you take a step or two away from it, the light tends to get a little softer, but there will be less. I’ll usually position my subject adjacent to the window towards the end so they are getting natural light from the side and front. Your subject will be filled with light! Remember backlighting? I also like getting backlit photos in front of windows or doors.
Now go out and take better photos…
Whew, that was a lot! I could go into a lot more depth about light, but this is a great place to start! You will learn so much by just getting out there to take some pictures. I encourage you to find spots of good light throughout your day and then test it by taking a picture.
I hope this has helped you in some way! There is SO much more about taking better phone photos of your kids, so stay tuned for my second post in the series coming soon!
Until next time,
Marie Elizabeth Photography specializes in fine art Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography based out of Washington, D.C. and serves the areas of Arlington, Alexandria, McLean, Falls Church, Vienna, Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Silver Spring, College Park, and Riverdale Park.
It is always an honor to serve as your DC Fine Art Family Photographer. I provide a custom, luxurious experience to lead you every step of the way, beginning with a planning guide to make you feel confident and prepared, a consultation to achieve your portrait goals, a client wardrobe, hair and make-up artists, and finally, artwork to adorn your walls and preserve your memories forever. Let me be a part of your story today.