5 Tips for Better Mobile Photos

We are so lucky that we get to walk about with a camera in our pocket at all times. We can use it to document our lives, as a creative outlet when we need a break and a way to connect with family and friends. Here are a few easy tips to take better photographs of your family!

#1 Shoot Horizontal

We see this world horizontally. It’s tempting to stick to vertical frames because that’s the way our phones are oriented. But there is often more information that you want to include in the frame when you shoot horizontally vs. vertically.

Shooting horizontally lets me fill the frame. If I had shot this vertically there would be a lot of unneeded space above and below my subjects.

Shooting horizontally lets me fill the frame. If I had shot this vertically there would be a lot of unneeded space above and below my subjects.

#2 Pay Attention to the Light

Making sure the light is behind you (the photographer) or to the side of you will help light your subjects. Don’t take a picture in the shade if there’s a bright background. Our eyes go to the brightest spot in the picture first. If your child is in the shade we will miss his/her beautiful face! If you choose to backlight your subject, a dark background will create a rim of light around their heads.

Light is coming from a window directly behind me.

Light is coming from a window directly behind me.

Light coming from the left side of the frame. I chose to shoot vertically here because I wanted to show the baby carrier. Shooting vertically works really well for portraits on Halloween, the first day of school, etc.

Light coming from the left side of the frame. I chose to shoot vertically here because I wanted to show the baby carrier. Shooting vertically works really well for portraits on Halloween, the first day of school, etc.

#3 Bend your Knees

I often see parents taking photographs from grown up eye level. They bend over slightly and tilt their camera towards their kids. You’ll get a better angle and a more interesting perspective if you bend down to your kids’ eye level. Show their perspective of the world!

Unrequited puppy love deserves to be documented.

Unrequited puppy love deserves to be documented.

Pumpkins are gigantic when you are one!

Pumpkins are gigantic when you are one!

#4 Get in the Frame

We have tons of photos these days. But our kids aren’t going to have photos with us (their parents) if we don’t make it a priority. Photo Timer + is a great app to set an interval timer. You can set up to take a set of up to 10 pictures every 3 seconds. I use my Joby Gorilla Pod, but you can prop your phone up on anything.

This is how I entertain myself during lunchtime.

This is how I entertain myself during lunchtime.

Ask other people to take your photo. Just be prepared to remind them on a regular basis.

Ask other people to take your photo. Just be prepared to remind them on a regular basis.

#5 Print your Photos!

It gives your kids access to the photos and will make you smile everyday. Children who grow up with photos in their home have a better sense of self esteem. There are tons of apps that let you print right from your phone. Chatbooks is my favorite because it puts all your photos in one place. Kids love flipping through the books. You can even set it up to automatically print your Instagram posts or favorites folder.

Chatbooks are the perfect size for little hands and they are relatively inexpensive so that I don’t mind my daughter “reading” the books alone. She is absolutely obsessed.

Chatbooks are the perfect size for little hands and they are relatively inexpensive so that I don’t mind my daughter “reading” the books alone. She is absolutely obsessed.

As our resident family photographer, I still feel like I’m not in enough pictures with my family. Actually, I know I’m not. When my daughter wants to see our family album from her first year of life, she asks to see the “Dada Book.” (Please imagine a raised eyebrow emoji here.) I want to be able to pass down photos to my daughter that show how much I love her (and that includes lots of hard work and patience). I make sure to hire a photographer every year so I’m in the pictures too. I believe the photos we take today are ultimately for our kids. And they are going to want photos with all of us together, not just of themselves. So get in the frame! Ask your partner, ask your friend, ask a stranger, ask your photographer. I’m here to help!

Bridget Eldridge