In today’s world, everyone seems to be worried about technology taking over. With the rise of AI tools such as Canva and ChatGPT, there’s been an ongoing theme of doom and gloom surrounding jobs in the creative market.
Welcome to the life of a photographer! After doing this for nearly three decades, we’ve had to overcome tons of obstacles and shifts in the photography space.
And while it’s certainly possible to DIY your family photos with an iPhone these days, we’re still not out of a job.
There are just some jobs that simply require a human touch (even if we do use Adobe to increase our photo quality)!
So why are we here giving you tips on how to take good photos with a phone? Well, it’s because:
With that out of the way, here is:
You don’t need a fancy camera to take amazing photos. You can create stunning images that preserve your cherished memories with simple tricks and techniques.
Here are 7 steps for taking good photos with your phone.
You won’t believe how much this makes a difference! It’s an easy, yet forgettable step.
But over time, fingerprints and smudges can accumulate on your phone’s camera lens, impacting your images’ clarity.
Use a microfiber cloth or a lens cleaning wipe to gently wipe away any dirt or smudges before taking photos.
To capture captivating family photos, lighting will be your right-hand assistant and your most crucial asset.
We always, always like to seek out natural light sources, which is why we prefer outdoor settings such as Sand Key Beach or Fred Howard Park.
Here’s the trick: Look for shaded areas to ensure even lighting. You can avoid harsh shadows by shooting during the golden hours – early morning or late afternoon.
However, if you’re taking photos inside, try to set up your shot in front of a large window or open doorways to let in plenty of soft, diffused light.
Remember, well-lit photos will add warmth and depth to your DIY family Portraits.
Composition is how you arrange the things you see in your photo. Imagine you have a tic-tac-toe grid on your screen. When you put the subject of your picture where the lines cross, it looks nice!
For example: Let’s say you’re taking a picture of your kids playing soccer. Instead of putting them right in the middle of the photo, you can move them to the side.
By getting a picture of them to the side, you create balance and make the photo more exciting because it shows them in action!
Most phone cameras have a grid feature that divides the screen into thirds. This allows you to use the popular photography trick, “rule of thirds,” by aligning your subject along the lines or at the intersection points.
You can also experiment with different angles and distances to create dynamic and visually exciting compositions. This is called “filling the frame.”
For example: Get down to your child’s eye level for an intimate and immersive perspective. Or, try shooting from above to capture the entire family in a playful group photo.
You can learn more about filling the frame here.
Some phones offer exposure compensation, which allows you to adjust the brightness of your photos manually.
Use this setting to brighten or darken the exposure as needed, especially in challenging lighting conditions.
If your phone has a portrait mode, explore this feature for stunning depth-of-field effects.
Portrait mode creates a beautiful background blur (bokeh) while keeping the subject in focus, resulting in professional-looking DIY family portraits.
If you want to capture movement, you can activate the burst mode. With this, you’ll be able to take multiple photos in rapid-fire, increasing your chances of getting a really cool shot.
Hot Tip for Shakey Hands! Use the timer function to avoid camera shake.
And finally (if your phone supports it), consider shooting in RAW format. RAW files contain more data and provide greater flexibility for editing, allowing you to make adjustments
Honestly, if you want to know the secret to photos that look like they are taken by a professional— it’s all about the unexpected moments.
The beauty of DIY family photos lies in capturing genuine emotions and authentic moments. Try to get candid shots of your family laughing or smiling in real time. You do this by encouraging your family to play and interact naturally (and use Burst Mode)!
From capturing moments of siblings who don’t always get along (but share a deep bond) to freezing the flirtatious glances between Mom and Dad, these photos will tell the story of your family’s beautiful imperfections that make you who you are.
You can also try the “Plandid” technique, which we talk about here!
Sometimes you can capture a good photo on the first take (like this one here).
Other times, adding a slight contrast or brightening the background can really enhance your photos to make them worthy of your living room gallery.
Nowadays, you can enhance your iPhone pictures using editing apps— right on your phone! Adobe Lightroom is probably the one you hear about the most and is absolutely the one we recommend!
The first few things you’ll want to adjust are setting such as:
If that’s overwhelming, you can even buy filters from professional photographers who already know their way around editing software.
Remember, editing should be subtle to maintain the natural feel of the moment. With a few simple tweaks, your family photos will shine like never before.
Now that you know the basics of how to take good photos with your phones your phone, it’s time for the most important tip of all:
Practice makes progress.
You won’t have picture-perfect images in your first few photos. Heck, you might not be able to replicate your “dream” photos until a few years down the line.
So, practice these techniques at least once a week, and your DIY family photos will become cherished keepsakes that genuinely capture the essence of your family dynamic.
Find Inspiration for Your Session
Prepping for an engagement, maternity, newborn, family, or senior portrait session can make you feel excited, anxious, a smidge stressed … and of course, making a giant mess in your closet as you search for the perfect outfit. Inside our blog, we’re serving up all the inspo, tips, and tricks you need to have a stress-free photo session, from how to pose without feeling super awkward to what you and your family should wear. Reap the benefits of our 30 years of photography experience and wisdom, or just enjoy looking at the pretty pictures.
Don’t stress (or start panic shopping just yet!). Download our Style Guide, so you know exactly what looks to lay out.
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