You all have heard me say over and over how important I think it is to capture those ordinary moments. Because ordinary moments are the ones we will want to look back on the most. That's why lifestyle and documentary photography is so important to me! But what about those times when you don't have a photographer around? What about an ordinary day when your toddler starts doing something cute and all you have is your iPhone? Is it even worth trying?
The answer, of course, is YES! Now we all know that today's phone cameras, while being infinitely better than they were just five years ago, still have major limitations. But let's just start with these three basic tips that will help you get better photos regardless of what camera you're using.
(Also, enjoy these goofy photos of my oldest who was only sort of humoring me after I had asked to take a few iPhone photos of her in our home. She "didn't feel like smiling." Goofball.)
(1) Look for the light
Before you snap a photo of your little one looking oh so cute in that funny outfit he picked out, or your big kid making a funny face, find out where the light is coming from, and shoot from there. When you make sure that the light is pointing toward your subject, rather than coming from behind her, you'll get better colors, nicer skin tones, and a much more flattering picture. It's worth moving around to the other side of your subject if necessary to get a photo that will do justice to your memory!
(2) Watch your angle
It is so common to make the mistake of shooting from way above your child, rather than stooping down a bit to capture them from a more natural angle. If you're not careful, your child will look weirdly proportioned or just plain tiny because of the way you can hover over her while you're taking her photo. Taking her photo straight on may mean getting down on your knees, so take the extra second to do that before you snap!
(3) Try to get "catchlights"
Okay, humor me here. I'm not trying to get super technical with you, but catchlights were one of those things that I couldn't believe no one had ever mentioned to me before I started studying photography. You won't be able to achieve this in every photo, but when you can, it makes such a difference in your image! Catchlights are the little white reflections you can see in your subject's eyes, or what you might even call a "sparkle" in their eyes. By simply directing my daughter to look at the window instead of the wall or somewhere else in the room, the light from the window created a bright reflection in her eyes that really seems to bring the photo to life - even if she refuses to look happy; good grief. If you want to capture catchlights, just ask your subject to look towards the light. And then pat yourself on the back for knowing about catchlights!
(One final little bonus tip for iPhone users: Turn off your "live photo" setting. Just tap that fancy looking circle with the dotted edges at the top of your screen and you'll see the phrase "live off" appear. Live photos take up WAY more storage than regular ones and you don't want to run out of storage on your phone!)
Now that you are armed with these three basic tips, grab your phone (or camera) and start snapping! Those memories aren't gonna save themselves! Happy documenting!