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How to Take Better Photos With Your iPhone

Nothing can beat professional quality photographs. There, I said it. I truly do believe that and not just because I’m a professional photographer. Time is much too fleeting and moments pass ever so quickly. It’s almost a crime not to preserve them in a beautiful, lasting way. That being said, who can afford a pro more than once, or at most, twice a year? I sure couldn’t.

Once upon a time and not so very long ago, I was a mom who simply wanted pretty pictures of my child. I didn’t own a fancy pants DSLR camera, and I imagine that most other moms don’t either. I believe it was Chase Jarvis who said, “The best camera is the one that’s with you,” and for a lot of us that’s a cell phone.

So here are my best tips for getting some great shots using only your iPhone.

ELIMINATING DISTRACTIONS

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1. Move Unnecessary Objects

My #1 tip for any photography is to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here’s your scenario: Your child(ren) is sitting at the dining room table pounding out some play dough. You want to hold onto that moment with some candid shots. You whip out your handy dandy iPhone and snap away. Now ask yourself, “Is my child really the focus, or am I losing them in the clutter?” This is in no way a judgement. Trust me when I say that my table is a smörgåsbord of junk mail and sticky plates with banana pancake remnants most days. It’s also not about perpetuating the facade of perfection on Facebook. It’s really just about creating frame-worthy images. It’s the difference between making photographs as opposed to only taking snapshots. So spend a few moments sliding the junk out of the frame.

IMG_2026 copy2.  Get Closer

In this shot all you see is a cute little girl in what appears to be a field, right? Wrong. When I pull back you can see that in actuality this image was taken in an ordinary setting with a lot of surrounding distractions. You wouldn’t believe the images I have captured beside porta-potties, gas stations and other less than desirable locales.

 

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3.  Minimalism

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Keep it simple. Leaving negative space around your subject honestly tells a much more powerful story.

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CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

When I’m shooting it’s straight-up Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon style. I’m on things, behind things, under things. I’ve been chest-deep in rushing water (granted I’m only 5’2″, so that’s probably ankle deep for most people). I’ve laid in goose poop, knelt in mud, precariously dangled off of bridges and performed a number of other death-defying feats. Sat in pricker bushes, waded through face slapping corn fields and, well…you get the idea. Photography is so much about angles and perspective. While I don’t advocate putting yourself in harm’s way (I have great insurance), I do recommend you try changing your perspective by :

1. Getting Low

Don’t be afraid to crouch down to your child’s eye-level. Better yet, lay down on the ground.

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2.  Getting High

Okay, that sounds terrible. What I mean by this is to find a chair or bench, anything handy and STURDY enough to support you and shoot from above. (The folding chair in the image below collapsed inward and I almost bought the farm, thankfully my second shooter and the Bride caught me.)

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3.  Shoot Through Objects

Think outside the box. Look for any items you could possible shoot through. Holes in playground equipment, tree branches, frosted or beveled doors, a drinking glass, etc.

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4.  Utilize Reflective Surfaces

Look for anything reflective and get creative. It doesn’t just have to be the obvious things like mirrors and rain puddles (although these are great too). Try a spoon, a tea kettle, a cd, an eyeball, a bubble. That shiny button at the cross walk, yup, I’ve used it.

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5.  Don’t Crop Out The Shadows

One of my favorite things to include in my iPhone images is shadows. They add an element of drama to an otherwise ordinary image.

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6.  Silhouettes

Another all time favorite of mine is silhouettes. Not every image has to be a face smiling directly at the camera. I love to capture just the presence of my child while she is in her own world.

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iPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY EDITING APPS

I never just snap a photo and post it. With various editing apps you can make your images look more professional and polished. Here are some of my favorites:

VSCO Cam – Easy to apply filters, adjust exposure and share features.

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Mextures – Film Grain, Textures, Grunge, Dusty Vintage Film Scans, and Gradients as well as other artist’s saved formulas.

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10704191_10153080614045739_8642726504733974965_n Ghost Lens – This app is a way to create double exposures with your phone.

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12552838_10153948833490739_8277826134137137296_nRES BeFunky – Photo touch-ups, Overlays, Frames, Collages, Various Effects

A lot of times I will use this app in conjunction with other apps. Sometimes I start out in this app just to tweak the actual image size, coloring, etc. Then I pull it into other apps to add effects.

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12400752_10153948834750739_866350600308507062_n TinType by Hipstamatic – Inspired by daguerreotypes, tintypes and other photographic processes from over a hundred years ago.

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And that about does it. Remember, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture beautiful images of your child(ren), but you might have to wash your clothes a bit more often. Stay safe and happy snapping!

Do you have a favorite photo editing app
or a tip on getting better images with your cellphone?
I’d love to hear, feel free to share below!

2 Responses to How to Take Better Photos With Your iPhone

  1. JulieFaith May 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    Great article! Since I always have my phone in my pocket, I often think the iphone camera is what it would be like if I could actually shoot pictures with my eyes. One app I would add to this list is Snapseed, I can’t live w/o it.

    • Paige Everson
      Paige Everson May 13, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Julie! How cool would that be, if we could take snapshots with our eyes? I see pictures everywhere I go. Thanks for your addition as well. I’ve tried Snapseed in the past, it’s not one that I use, but I know many people do. Nice suggestion.

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