How to take better photos with your phone - Part 1

A lot of people think you need a fancy expensive camera to take really good photos but these days camera phones are so advanced, you can take fab photos without spending the extra cash.

- Some photos I've taken on my phone -

When you see your child doing something really cute, its typical to quickly pick up your phone and take a few quick snaps from where you're sitting, without thinking about angles, and then add a filter with Instagram to make it pop.

Quick Snap of Michael - Some Insta filter - Took a second to re-position him

This might sometimes produce a fab photo if the light happens to be right but if you take a few seconds to think about the set up, you can take a fab photo every time!

The first thing and most important thing you need to think about when taking a photo is : LIGHT

It seems pretty straight forward to know that good light = a good photo, but with phones being able to take photos in lower and lower light, we tend to overlook this and get lazy.

However, the less light the camera has to work with, the more effort it has to put into making the photo look nice, and the lower quality it will be. The photo will be noisy (the speckly grain you see on dark photos) but the camera software will then smooth the grain out so you can't see it but this means that the photo will become a bit blurry. This might be fine if you're keeping your photos on your phone, but if you ever plan to print them, this will become very noticeable.

See what I mean?

FUN FACT - Our eyes actually see these speckles in real life but our brain filters them out. Look at a dark shadow for a bit and you'll notice them. Weird!

So even though we can take indoor photos in a dark room, it's much better to find a good source of light.

Lets look at the options.

Phone Flash

I NEVER use the flash on my phone, it isn't flattering, ever! The light just bounces off faces, making them look shiny and squinty, bringing out any tiny skin imperfections or redness. There is never a good time to use a phone flash, unless you're in a cave and need a torch.

Switch it off now!

A Window

This really is your friend, (up until night time that is). The window gives much softer and a more even light and being at head level, doesn't leave the bad shadows that being lit directly from above does.

It's important to have the window behind you (but not so your shadow gets in the way) when taking photos. I'll explain why later, but this is the difference it makes!

But there'es only an hour between school and it going dark at the moment right? We tend to take more photos of our kids in the evening, they're cuter at bath and bed time but that doesn't mean we can't take photos at those times.

Ceiling Light

This may fill the room with light, but it tends to make photos look very orange and creates unflattering shadows so it's not ideal. If it's dark outside and it's your only option, take the photo with your subject facing the light with their chin up, and turn the 'White Balance' down in the manual camera settings or by using Instagram.

The what? White Balance is basically how orange or blue a photo looks. Lights at home and street lights create an orange tinge, whereas a cloudy day will make your photos a bit blue.