Isn’t it amazing that we live at a time when we could document every single moment of our lives using our smartphones? And I know lots of moms and dads out there have their smartphones ready, waiting for the right moment to take a cute snapshot of their little ones. I know I do! Taking pictures with a phone is pretty straightforward, it’s not complicated at all. Digital photography for moms is a thing and that’s the reason why I created this simple guide!
There are tricks that could improve every shot and if you are planning to document your perfect imperfect life using your mobile phone, it’s time to brush up on your photography skills to create professional-looking visuals. In today’s lesson, let’s talk about the proper way of holding a phone when taking a picture, what matters, what factors to consider and what to ignore:
The Way You Hold Your Smartphone Matters
This is a no brainer but when you’re a busy mom juggling a million things at once, it’s easy to forget that there is a right way and a wrong way of holding your smartphone while taking a photo. Because smartphones are dinky, lightweight devices, the slightest shake could lead to blurry results. And if you’re bent on capturing your kids’ firsts/milestones (first smile, first haircut, first time meeting the siblings, etc.), you want to make sure that the photo will reflect the beauty of the moment that you want to capture. Remember, once the moment is gone, it’s gone for good.
Although mobile devices have an image stabilization feature, don’t depend on this feature too much. Don’t just whip out your phone and take a picture hastily, as if by instinct, then hope for the best. Apart from knowing some photography basics, think of the way you hold your phone, the composition, and the placements of every element in a frame to design a photo that you will treasure forever.
Who has Time to Set up a Tripod? Not Me!
The first rule in digital photography for moms, no fancy tools. That means no tripods to avoid noise or blurs – just keep those hands steady before taking a shot!
I suggest holding the phone with both hands for stability then hold your arms with your elbows pointing towards your feet. If you are taking a picture across the room, prop your elbows on a flat surface, like a table, to avoid shakiness.
One thing to keep in mind before taking a picture: the shot gets shakier the further away your arms are in front of you. Instead of stretching your arms to take a picture and getting blurry images in the process, keep your arms closer and support your elbows against the sides of your body. You can hold your camera better this way and the shots will be sharper. Resist the temptation to zoom in while taking a photo, this will lead to a grainy, less detailed image.
Hold Your Phone Horizontally for a Wider Canvas
If you’re like most people, you are probably holding your phone vertically while taking a picture because we’re so used to this orientation. Don’t get me wrong, holding the phone this way when taking a picture works in some situations (more on this later) but if you want to get a wider canvas, I suggest holding your phone in landscape mode. This way, you are not squeezing everything into a narrow frame and missing key details that would’ve made the image even better.
Just Like Texting
Shooting in portrait mode is easier as opposed to the landscape mode just because most people hold their smartphones this way. If you’d like to take a picture in portrait mode, hold your phone the same way as you would when texting.
Use your dominant hand for a steadier grip and then use your other hand to support the phone further. If your left and right hand are supporting the phone, you’ll get a better grip of the camera and take sharper snaps. For example, use your left hand to take the shot then use the right hand to support the phone.
Big Phones are not Made for Small Hands
Who doesn’t love a big screen especially when browsing or streaming on a smartphone? As much as I love big screens, these small hands cannot get a good grip on the camera when taking a picture. If I have to take a picture using a big smartphone, I have to stop whatever it is that I’m doing to take the shot because I can’t hold my phone with one hand. That works in some situations but if you’re a busy mom, you’re juggling way too many things that you simply cannot drop everything for a picture.
A smaller phone is much easier to hold with just one hand. The resulting shot is much clearer too because you have a firmer grip on the camera. The edges are also flat and this lets you shoot sharper photos.
And just to keep the camera steady, hold your smartphone like this: spread those three middle fingers on the back of the smartphone, let the pinkie hold the bottom-side then keep the thumb on the camera button. By using your thumb to press the shutter, the phone itself won’t move too much while taking the shot, preventing blur.
Now Hold Your Breath
This might sound like a weird tip but trust me, it works: hold your breath before pressing the shutter. You don’t notice it but breathing while taking a picture could cause subtle movements that make the picture blurry.
What I do is, I start by setting the camera to my preferred orientation/settings (just so I won’t fiddle with the settings while taking a picture and wasting even more time), exhale, hold my breath, take a photo, then inhale. Try it, you’ll get a more steady shot. Newer smartphones no longer come with a physical button but if yours still has one, use it when taking pictures because it will reduce blur in your photos.
… now snap away! How you hold your smartphone will affect the quality of the image! So experiment with any of these techniques, practice, and find out what works for you. And the next time your little ones do something cute or memorable (or both), you’ll be ready to take amazing shots.
Are you loving my new series, digital photography for moms? Stick around because I’ve got lots of photography tricks up my sleeves!