It used to be that family photography required you to bring in a professional photographer, or at least have all of the equipment to take great photos yourself.
Today, these are no longer prerequisites for taking awesome photos. In this post, we’re going to provide you with photography tips and applications that will help you capture beautiful pictures using only your iPhone!
Read on for:
- The Setup
- The Shoot
- The Apps
So much has changed with the addition of the smartphone. We’re able to connect with people via social media. We constantly complete tasks while we’re on the go. And we can even use our phones to watch our favorite TV shows and movies.
But one of the biggest perks of the smartphone is the ability to take gorgeous photos without the use of an expensive camera. With a simple swipe and click, you can open your iPhone’s built-in camera and use it to capture special moments.
And while this increased accessibility has made photography something for everyone, it certainly hasn’t made everyone a photographer …
The best shots don’t always come easily. Even if you’re shooting with an iPhone, the laws of photography still apply; and it’s important to understand what makes a good photo and what makes a bad photo.
Additionally, taking photos of children can be tough work! If you’ve tried, or if you have had a professional photographer take photos of your family before, you know how restless kids can be when their photos are being taken.
There are ways to eliminate some of the distractions, but there are also ways to embrace the distractions and channel all of the moving and fidgeting into some really fantastic shots!
So, before we discuss iPhone-specific tools for family photography, let’s look at some practical photo-taking tips that will help you capture better photos of your children.
Whether it’s a smartphone camera or a regular camera, it’s all the same to your kids. Where there’s a camera, there’s pressure for them to perform. And many children don’t cope with that pressure so well …
In order for your family photography session to be a success, there are things you should keep in mind even before you take that first photo.
1. Be patient
Any time you take photos with children, it’s going to take much longer than you anticipate. Be prepared for this, and don’t rush things. If you remain patient, you’ll capture much better shots and you’ll enjoy the process as well!
2. Be ready and alert
Kids are constantly moving. When looking for the perfect shot, it can easily pass you by if you’re not paying attention. Stay alert, and eliminate things that could distract you.
3. Show them the camera
Regardless of whether it’s a normal camera or a smartphone camera, kids – especially younger ones – can be intimidated by the lens and the whole photo-taking process. Spend a minute or two letting them see the camera or other equipment. This will help ease their nerves.
4. Don’t be a control freak!
The easiest way to upset your child while taking photos is by being bossy and demanding. This only adds to the pressure to perform, and they won’t react well. Let your children do their own thing here and there. It might even make for some great candid snaps!
5. Don’t take it too seriously
Go into the shoot with the intention of having fun with your family. If you’re barking orders or correcting family members for being out of place, you’re not going to get the best results. Keep an open mind and have fun!
6. Provide incentives
Children can be fickle . . . just when you think they might be coming around to the idea of a photo shoot, they give up or have a meltdown! A little incentive can go a long way and help them get into the right mood.
7. Dress for the weather
Natural light is the best, so if you’re going to be snapping your photos outside, be cognizant of the forecast for that day. If it’s going to be chilly, don’t put them in a t-shirt, and if it’s going to be hot, don’t put them in a hoodie or sweater. Dress them appropriately or they will be miserable.
Now that you’re well prepared for your family photography session, it’s time to get out there and snap some photos. And here are a few tips that will help you capture the gems.
8. Take a lot of photos
Especially when it comes to smartphones, any photo you take can be deleted about as quickly as it was taken. You can never take too many photos; so don’t be afraid to fill up that memory! The more photos you take, the better chance you’ll have at snapping that perfect photo.
9. Shoot quickly
On a similar note, it’s important to not only take a lot of photos, but to take them quickly too. If you’re taking pictures in quick succession, you’re less likely to miss some of the best moments.
10. Capture the candid moments
Some of the most beautiful photos are taken when children go off into their own little worlds and forget that the camera is there. Be sure to capitalize on these moments by taking plenty of shots of them doing their own things.
11. Get down to your kids’ level
Run a quick Google search for “kids photos”. 9 out of every 10 shots are going to be ones that were taken at the child’s level. We can’t stress this enough. When you shoot from above, you distance yourself from your child. This usually makes for a poor shot – unless it’s planned strategically.
12. Keep them laughing
If you want the shot with the genuine smile, you’ve got to get your child smiling naturally. So, get them laughing! That means telling jokes, making noises, and having a little help …
13. Have people behind you to distract
If you have friends or family members who aren’t in the shot you’re taking, have them stand behind you and try to get your child laughing. This way, you can simply focus on taking the photo!
14. Don’t use “cheese”
Unless you want a really fake smile or no smile at all, don’t tell your family members to say “cheese”! It usually doesn’t produce a smile – just clenched teeth. There are better alternatives. Just make them laugh!
15. Get up close
Especially with children, you want to get up nice and close. This allows you to capture all of the unique little details that make our kids who they are.
16. Do a little cropping
If you didn’t get quite close enough, feel free to crop when needed. But be careful of how much you crop. If it’s an iPhone image, chances are that you can’t crop too much without distorting the image.
17. Capture movement
Let your family members roam for some time. Capturing their movement makes for some of the most natural-looking photos. Remember, posing has its place, but they don’t have to be posing the whole time!
18. Don’t force the shot
If there’s one idea that you like that’s really not working, don’t keep forcing it. Chances are that you’re wasting time on a photo that’s not going to look natural once it’s finally captured.
19. Keep it simple
When you’re taking photos of your kids, the best shots are typically those in which they are the focus. You don’t even elaborate setups or gorgeous locations. You just need to capture their best moments.
20. Use props
If you’re still having trouble getting your child to focus, give them a toy or a prop that will keep them amused. Pick something that will work well in the photo; but more importantly, pick something that will help change their mood.
21. Make them look small
Using scale is one of the best ways to highlight your child’s delicate features and frame. Have them sit or stand next to a large object – this could be your family dog, your swimming pool, or anything!
22. Change up the angles here and there
Remember when we said to get down on your child’s level? It’s a great rule of thumb, but there will be opportunities to diversify as well. Shooting from behind or from a bird’s-eye view can make for some beautiful shots as well.
23. Focus on hands and feet
It’s easy to get lost in your kid’s toothy smile, but don’t forget to take photos that focus on their other features as well. In particular, hands and feet make for some fantastic photos.
24. Focus on the eyes
Again, a smile is great, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of your photo. If your child isn’t smiling, get a few photos that focus on the eyes.
25. There’s nothing wrong with a selfie
Just because you’re taking photos with family members, props, and pretty scenery, doesn’t mean you can’t snap a quick selfie with your kids. It may not be the photo you hang on your wall (though, it might be!) but it can end up being a personal photo of you and your child that you cherish forever.
Now that we’ve highlighted some of the best family photography tips, let’s delve into a few of the applications and tools that you can use for editing and publishing your new photos – all from your iPhone.
26. The stock camera app
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise. The stock camera app that comes with your iPhone is a perfectly capable camera. Most importantly, it’s the easiest application to access. If a great moment is happening right in front of you, you don’t want to miss it by unlocking your phone, scrolling through your apps, and finding the app you want to use. To take a picture with the stock camera app, swipe up and click the camera icon. Done.
If you’re interested in a camera app that will do a little more than the stock camera app, look no further than Camera+. It provides its user with a longer timer, more filter presets, and advanced exposure controls.
When it comes to photo editing, Snapseed is a powerful tool that can help you take your photos to that next level, and beyond. Its customizable filters, advanced editing tools, and Healing feature make it one of the most popular editing applications available. Oh, and it’s free!
If you value versatility, Enlight may be just the editing app you need. It’s the perfect tool for making simple edits, but it also allows you transform your photo into something unique and creative. With its Mixer feature, you can combine two photos to create a double-exposure look.
Similar to Enlight, the Superimpose app excels in turning multiple photos into a single creation. It’s fun, easy to use, and it also provides users with basic photo editing features as well.
Another free application, VSCO is a powerful editing tool that allows you to replicate old film or watercolor paintings by using the application’s original filters. You can put a gorgeous spin on nearly any photo with this amazing editing tool.
Is there a blemish in your photo that you’re really itching to remove? With TouchRetouch, you can do just that. Whether it’s a dust spot, a line, or another item that made its way into the picture, this application can remove it in a way that keeps your image looking natural and professional.
If you want to add a splash of color and vibrancy to your image, the Mextures app might be the best option for you. It allows you to create filters and stack them as you see fit – but then it allows you to save your favorite settings as presets. That way, you can use them again and again on future edits.
These are just a handful of the best photo editing applications that are available, and they should be able to handle most of your editing needs. But if not, there are hundreds of applications floating around the app store for you to check out!
When it comes to family photography, you don’t need an elaborate setup or a wide range of equipment in order to take a great photo. What you do need is a little know-how and a few resources that will help you get the most out of what you have.
With these 33 tips and tools, you can capture and edit great family photography with just an iPhone and a few toothy smiles.
In your experience, have you found any other tips or resources that have been useful? Please let us know in the comment section below!
Want to take your family photography to a whole new level?
Over at Digital Photography School (a fantastic website), they offer a great resource called Click! It walks you through everything you need to take beautiful photos of your kids time and time again. Photos that reflect the big personalities of your family – images you’ll treasure forever and be proud to share.
Click! will solve the challenges every parent and grandparent has. How do I …
- make photographing my kids fun again?
- avoid tantrums, tears, and other family snap perils?
- go beyond the ‘click and hope’ approach?
- avoid taking staged and fake looking photos?
- add style and emotion to my shots?
This inspirational ebook is more than just a starting point—it’s a detailed resource you’ll come back to again and again.
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