Have you ever wondered how to photograph your family with just you iPhone? Wonder no more. One thing that I remember from studying photography at university is the phrase ‘the best camera is the one you have one with you’ and that is so unbelievably true. Nowadays everyone has a camera on them most of the time and it’s probably either what you’re reading this on or in your pocket – your handy dandy smart phone.
The cameras on smart phones are not going to give you professional results, but as with the statement above, they are a tool to capture what’s there in the moment, and sometimes that’s all that matters. (Although, if you’re after that – you can click here)
1. Get The Right Light
Light it SO important in making an image look and feel as magical as the moment. Taking photos in low light (eg. living room in the evening) will probably result in grainy and possibly blurry photos. The details of the photo may be lost, but by doing a few things differently you can make a dramatic difference.
TIP: Take photos in front of a window, so that the window light lights your subject’s face. I use this technique in a tonne of my photos because natural light filtered through a window is one of my absolute favourite kinds. It’s soft and flattering, while being illuminating and easy to access. Harsh sunlight when you’re outdoors will cause weird shadows and highlights (also the awkward eye squint) – to avoid this take photos in the shade.
2. Get The Right Reaction
Candid photography is my favourite, but there’s absolutely no harm in setting up a little planned shot too.
TIP: While your photographing your subject, tell them a silly joke or tell them about an exciting event coming up that they didn’t know about. You will get natural and happy reactions that look genuine.
3. Don’t Force It
If your family are not feeling it that day, don’t force them to stand there and be photographed if they don’t want to. Photography should be something that they get excited about as much as you, you don’t want them to close down as soon as your get the camera out in the future. If they’re not up for it that day it may be best to do it tomorrow instead – unless the moody child photos are the ones you love (personally I think this are just as treasurable too, but play it by ear).
TIP: Pick a day and time when everything is relaxed, make the photos fun. You could always set up some baking or a game – something physical that’s not an iPad or similar – to try and get better reactions.
4. Imperfect is Perfect
At the end of the day, what matters is that you have these moments. Even the ones that are blurry, having a bit of a tantrum or asleep on the couch are going to be something you can look back on with pride in the future – it won’t matter to you then if it’s a bit grainy. As I said at the start, the best camera is the one you have on you and that’s all that really matters.
TIP: Don’t delete photos because they’re not perfect, and don’t shy away from them. Keep them – when you look back on them in a few years time, you’ll love them like all the rest.
5. To Filter or Not To Filter
Let’s face it – we all love an Instagram filter. Sometimes they look great, and sometimes not so much. My advice here would be to use the filters if you want to, but make sure you have unfiltered photos backed up for the future. It’s a bit like an tattoo you regret – they can look really dated really quickly and in 5 years time we’re going to look back at all our over filtered pictures and think ‘what on earth where we thinking?’. There are some apps that can give a more natural or film-like filter such as VSCO, or of course good old Adobe Photoshop for those who use it.
TIP: Keep un-filtered photos!
NOTE: When a photographer edits their photos they will put a LOT of time and effort into making an image look a certain way – this will correspond to their personal style which is what you are paying them for. Remember it is not okay to put an Instagram filter on photos from a professional, and they will very rarely give you the unedited files because it will go against their brand image – this is totally normal and completely different than using Instagram filters.
Go and create!
If you use this to take photos of your family PLEASE do show me, I would absolutely love to see. You can always tag me on Instagram, leave a comment on this post or send me a message.
Need a professional?
Check out my family photography gallery and let’s set up a shoot!
I hope you have found this advice useful!
I’ll be back soon,
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