With the holidays approaching, eggnog is optional, family drama is likely, and memorable moments are definite. With so much going on, it might feel impossible to catch everything, but it shouldn’t have to be. Having the option to take photos with a smartphone is only half of it– the other half is actually having the ability to. You don’t have to be a professional to get good snaps of your family this season! All with your smartphone! (I’m a fan of the iPhone, sorry Android.)
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind to produce the best family photos this holiday season with your smartphone:
1. Wipe off your camera lens! This may seem silly, but it is also necessary. You might be surprised how drastically the quality of your photo might increase without grime and dirt clouding your lens. So grab a window cleaner and clean off all those fingerprints and dirt.
2. Make sure you have enough free space. How many times have you tried to capture a moment but end up not having enough free space? Personally, I use the Google Photos app to backup all my photos and free up lots of space. Purchasing extra iCloud space is another option as well. This is great to do going into the holiday season.
3. Know how to get the camera app open ASAP. Have you ever missed a moment because you couldn’t get the camera app open fast enough? Skip finding the app and use the shortcut from the lock screen to quickly open up the app. On the iPhone, all you need to do is swipe to the left and the camera opens instantly.
4. Remove all distractions from your photo, and be aware of the background. A change like this is seemingly subtle, but can go a long way. Having a lot of unnecessary things in your photo might make it appear cluttered and busy, which only makes it feel stressful and less pleasing to look at. This is especially true for bright objects in the background like red fire hydrants. Go for simplicity.
5. Figure out appropriate lighting. Your smartphone isn’t a high-quality DSLR, so don’t try to photograph like it is. Instead of shooting into the light, turn your subject around and have the main light source on their faces – i.e. your kids facing the light coming from the window.
Be aware of how your are holding your phone. Try holding your phone horizontally and with two hands to keep it steady. Often times people tilt their phones forward or to the side or shoot from odd angles, so be conscious of how your camera is tilted, otherwise your photo might appear distorted, especially when it is tilted down towards the subject.
6. Invest in good photo editing apps. For editing the actual photo, VSCO Cam is recommended, so you can change exposure, brightness, contrast, and use different colored filters that have a better quality than the ones only found on Instagram. Good lighting is likely to be scarce, so that could mean possibly bumping up your exposure and contrast a little bit in the app while editing some of your photos.
7. Look birdy. Look birdy is an app to get kids to instantly look at your camera to take the perfect picture. It does this by playing bird sounds and using your phone’s flashlight to get attention.
8. Use burst mode. When the kids are running around, hold down the shutter button a take multiple photos in succession. This is a great way to get action shots.
9. Straight lines. This one is simple but make sure your camera is level when taking a picture!
10. Most importantly, have a blast and be present. Your electronics are amazing devices for making memories, but don’t be so caught up in trying to document the entire experience that you actually miss out on it. Don’t hesitate to put the phone down occasionally!
Hopefully these tips can be found useful this time of year. Have a wonderful holiday season!