In the book “The Best Camera is the One with You,” Chase Jarvis outlined the many ways to optimize an iPhone camera. The book also featured galleries of amazing shots that Jarvis made using his own smartphone camera. That’s proof that a beautiful image could come from any camera, even a smartphone camera. An image shouldn’t be judged by its dynamic range or resolution but of the way it affects the viewers, that the book’s main point.
Think of this guide as my version of that book but the digital photography tips are for moms and dads who love taking pictures of their little ones! It’s tempting to get the fanciest gears to go with a megapixel camera to feed your newfound passion but the fact is, the best camera is the one that you have with you, your smartphone! A smartphone camera may not have all the features of a DSLR shooter but it has the basic features to take great images.
If you’re like most people, you probably have your phone with you at all times, which presents a unique opportunity to take pictures anywhere, anytime, any day. With your smartphone camera, you can capture some of life’s best moments instantly. And to make sure you are only taking the best images, here are some of the best digital photography tips for moms:
Know the Basics
Mobile photography is just like traditional photography so the methodologies and techniques are quite similar. The difference is that a smartphone doesn’t have complicated controls so you are spending less time tinkering with the settings and more time getting creative with the composition to create a compelling image. So one of the best digital photography tips for moms that I’d share is to learn the fundamentals of photography, which is composition.
The composition is the creative side of photography; it’s all about taking stunning images by arranging different elements of the image in one frame. And a well-composed image starts and ends with your subject. I’ve compiled simple composition tips here to get you started. One thing to remember, photography is an art form, don’t overthink it or you might miss the memorable scene that’s unfolding in front of you.
It’s All About the Details
Developing a keen eye for detail will help you create an interesting image. So before you snap away, you have to take a sec to look at the details of the image you are creating. If for instance, you are shooting a cityscape or a distant setting, hold your smartphone camera in a way that levels the scene across your screen.
Look closely at the image; are there distracting elements that are taking the viewers’ eye away from the main subject? Move your smartphone camera up, down, sideways, any direction that will help you get a better angle. If you are shooting up close, give your subject a little breathing space so the image doesn’t appear cramped against the edges.
The Perfect Lighting
Photography is all about lighting, you simply cannot take great pictures if the lighting is bad. That’s why it’s so important to check the lighting conditions first before snapping away. That won’t be a problem if you are shooting outdoors but indoors, that’s a whole new ball game.
My advice is to pay attention to the lighting at certain times of the day. If the lighting condition is a bit dim. A spot near the window is a great place to start when shooting indoors. There are times of the day called the golden hour and blue hour – these are great times of the day for taking photos.
Golden Hour: An hour before sunrise or sunset, the daylight becomes softer and warmer (tones of red, yellow and orange) because the sun is low. This is a terrific time to shoot flattering pictures because of the golden lighting. The play of light and shadows also add depth and texture to the image.
Blue Hour: An hour before sunrise or sunset, the sky turns a stunning deep blue with touches of orange and yellow. Blue hour happens just after the golden hour in the morning or evenings and it’s the perfect time to shoot cityscapes or urban settings because of the deep saturation of colors.
Because you’re taking pictures using a smartphone, you have to set your focus by tapping on the screen. Then, adjust the exposure to achieve the desired effect and snap away!
That being said, I know as a parent you may not have the time to wait for the “Perfect Lighting”. For that reason, I like the mentality to take photos when the moment is there and not stress about waiting for everything to align. If the lighting is not the ideal, that is okay. The goal is to capture the moment so you have this photo to look at for years to come, not to enter a photo competition!
Cool Photo Effects
If you love the look of motion or light trails, you can achieve the same effect by using your smartphone camera’s motion controls. With the manual controls, you can control the camera’s shutter speed, which results in really cool photo effects! The longer the shutter is open, the more activity you’ll record in the image. Just be sure to keep those hands steady because the camera has to be completely still to create the right effect. There are apps that let you control your camera’s shutter speed if your smartphone camera does not have manual controls.
Find the Beauty in the Familiar
There is no need to travel somewhere to feel inspired, I am a firm believer that inspiration comes everywhere, even in settings that are familiar or mundane. You can hang out in the same spot hundreds of times and still find so many ways of taking creative shots! It’s just a matter of finding the perfect angle.
The playground, the park, the farmer’s market, even the grocery, these settings might look the same every day but you can give every image a fresh spin by finding a new angle, experimenting with different camera settings, or shooting in spots that you’ve never tried photographing before.
With your trusty smartphone camera, you have so many opportunities to take gorgeous photos. And as long as you keep practicing, you’ll come up with great images. So go on, take lots of pictures! There are so many possibilities that you can explore using your smartphone. And if you want to get the most out of your smartphone camera, sign up for my mailing list. I have more digital photography tips for moms to share!