The best photos of kids are taken not with the big camera in your closet but with the camera you have in your hand: your cell phone camera. Below are four steps to use your cell phone to easily take great pictures of your kids.
Step 1: Turn Off Your Flash Permanently
Spend a few minutes running through your cell phone’s settings to find the flash and turn it off permanently. The glare from a flash washes everyone out and ruins the mood. Everyone squints. Annoyed kids scream. Turn it off. But now that your flash is off, you will need to think about lighting for a second. Low light will make it difficult to take pictures. No worries though. Just rest your phone on a stable object like against the wall or on a table.
Step 2: Look for quiet moments
We all have kids here, and know they aren’t often quiet. But sometimes they are. In those moments when you might decide to scroll through the news or check email, use the camera instead. Catch your kids reading a book, or trying to. Get a picture of them singing to themselves on the potty. Those are the moments to capture. And while you are at it take multiple photos. Of course holidays call for pics, but these pictures won’t be the ones you cherish.
Step 3: Compose Your Photos Thoughtfully
Anything that takes your attention away from the action in the photo needs to be removed. I don’t mean you need to move the furniture around, but practice moving your body around to get a photo that doesn’t have any distractions. That yellow vase? Get that out of the picture. Those clothes laying on the floor? Move them with your foot. Sometimes it is fun to take a picture which shows the chaos of life with little ones. Sometimes it is better to try to forget the chaos. Regardless, make that decision intentionally.
Step 4: Play around with Depth of Field
Phones come with a new portrait mode, which makes the object in the foreground focused and makes the background hazy. You can play with this effect. Sometimes it is fun to take a fuzzy picture of the whole room. Have your phone focus on your hand. Then remove your hand and take the picture. Focus on a toy on your kitchen table while capturing your child drawing in the background.
This is the first in a series of posts about taking pics of kids. Next up: how to save your cell phone photos and best places to take pictures of kids in DC.