Easy Ways to Take Great Smartphone Photos of Your Kids

I always knew that when I had children, I’d take a ton of photos of them. When I got pregnant with Vera, people immediately started commenting on how many photos of this child there’d be, HA. They were completely right. I love photographing her, and like most moms, it’s convenient to break out the phone the majority of the time. I haven’t even gotten the big camera out yet. Plus, when she was an infant I just didn’t feel like it (something about being tired all the time and recovering from a rough labor, ha). You can get really nice photos on your phone, but there are a few things to keep in mind while shooting (this post is a revamp of this one tailored specifically for photographing kids/babies).

Pin image - Smartphone.jpg

1. Good lighting 

While smartphone cameras are better than ever, they still need plenty of light to produce quality photos. Indirect light such as a room with plenty of windows or outside in the shade are the best options. Shooting in the sun is ok when it’s before 10am or after 4pm and the sun is lower in the sky - the light is softer.

My favorite place to photograph my daughter right now is our guest room. It has several windows on two different walls and it creates a really nice studio-type setting in the afternoon. It also helps that the walls are white – brightly colored walls would create a color cast on her skin. 

Tip: Avoid the flash if possible. In most situations, the flash will only overexpose your subject. Try and use available light whenever you can. 

 Enable the grid function

The rule of thirds is a common technique used in photography and art in general to make a pleasing composition. Enabling the grid function on your camera makes using this technique easier. Simply place your subject along the lines or where they intersect. Your eye is naturally drawn to the intersects rather than the center and this is a basic way to help your composition balanced. In this photo, I placed Ben along the right line with Vera’s face where two intersect on the top right.

This rule applies when using portrait (tall), landscape (wide) orientations, and even squares. (Most of the photos for this post are squares because I use Instagram a lot and hey, I just like the original square shape so I rarely share anything else.) Your phone camera’s grid will do the work for you by splitting everything into thirds regardless of orientation.

2. White space

Sometimes simple is better. Plenty of white space is clean and it can make your photo look more professional/artistic. When trying to shoot a photo with lots of white space, don’t just randomly leave a lot of blank space. Go back up to #2 and use the grid. You could do a number of things but in this example, Vera is taking up two thirds of the frame with blank space in the last third.

 Tip: Plenty of white space is helpful/necessary when doing milestone photos.

3. Be candid

Because let’s be honest, once your child can move on their own it’s hard to make them sit still for photos. Photograph them doing every day things like playing, napping, and bathing. Oh, and don’t forget the details! You’re going to want to remember those chubby legs, long eyelashes, and cute accessories (currently obsessed with these fox socks!).

Tip: Every photo doesn’t need to be from the front with a smiling face. Serious and even grumpy faces are *almost* as cute if not cuter sometimes.

4. Bright phone case

This is helpful for getting a baby's attention. Maybe it’s just Vera but from when she was little she was fascinated by my brightly colored phone case and she almost always looks right at it when I take her photo. I have this one.

5. Be patient

If your child isn’t in the mood, don’t push it. Try another time. I like to make sure I take (posed) photos of Vera when I know she’s not hungry and tired. When you do have a happy child, make sure to take plenty. Sometimes it takes 10 to get a decent one – they might be wiggling or the dog might have photobombed for the 5th time.

Taking great photos of your kids isn’t difficult if you keep these tips in mind. You don’t have to be a photographer, either! As far as editing goes, I really just use an Instagram filter with the opacity turned way down. If you want to edit outside of Instagram, I suggest VSCO cam, but you don’t need tons of editing when the lighting is good.

What’s your favorite way to photograph your kids? Message/comment or tag me on Instagram (@laurenmacmoyle).

Have an awesome Wednesday!