How to Take Better Photos of Your Family With a Smartphone

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July 20, 2020

Now, we are all stuck at home with our families. It’s the perfect time to learn how to take better photos of your family with a smartphone. Even if the stay-at-home order is lifted, you might have changed and are spending more time with your family.

In these challenging times, it can be easy to get discouraged or stressed with everything that is going on. Simple but memorable moments are happening each day. Now with people working from home and kids staying home and it’s a perfect time to take some memorable photos with your phone.

It can seem intimidating at first to know how to take a photo with your family. We will teach you how to get the best photos of your family on your phone. Yes, I said it. You don’t need an expensive camera to take stunning family photos. You just need your phone and a little guidance. So let’s jump in.

Shoot Photos of Your Family in Landscape

So you are just starting out with mobile photography, it can feel daunting to get the photo you want. The first step is to understand the way you hold your phone. When we scroll through our phones we are in a vertical view. When we shoot most photos we shoot in landscape view.

For most smartphone photography you are going to shoot horizontally because it shows more of the background and has greater depth.

Take Everyday Photos

Recently, we have had to slow down our lives, but there is so much we miss. Today, when you are at home notice the moments and see what opportunities there are to take a photo. Did you miss a memorable moment because you were too busy?

Memorable moments are the small details in our lives. Snap a photo of a child reading on the couch or your husband passed out on the couch after work. These events happen daily, but they pass by so quickly.

Create Depth

In mobile photography, we talk about depth of field, which can be confusing. Depth refers to the distance between the background, foreground, and middle ground.  You can create depth in a few ways. It can be by creating physical distance from the background, or through the aperture.

So, how do you do that with a phone? First, you can create depth by creating distance from the background. An example of creating depth is taking a family photo on the front lawn with your house. Your smartphone will focus on the people and the house will be slightly blurry in the background.

An easy way to create depth is to use portrait mode. This naturally creates a blurry background called bokeh. With portrait mode, you can get great family shots.

Recommended Gear

Although selfies are fun family photos they aren’t something that you want to hang on your wall. So to take your mobile photography to the next level you’re going to need to test out some gear. Some say that hey you don’t really need gear you can just prop your phone on top of your car with some sunglasses. But then it’s a hot day and your car is even hotter. Well, if you see what I mean, it could end up in a disaster.

Here are some recommendations about the highest gear for mobile photography. There are all types of tripods that are for mobile photography. Instead of hauling around a massive tripod, you can transport it easily in a bag or a pocket.

The micro stand is the smallest tripod out in the market. It is built with high-quality material and you won’t go wrong with this tripod. The Joby GripTight One is the standard GorillaPod that has been updated recently. It has bendable legs and a sturdy ball joint that makes taking pictures simple. The Pro Stand is sturdy and reliable and will not move if there is wind or if it is placed on something unsteady. The mount is made of high-quality materials that will keep your phone safe. If you are getting more into cell phone photography try the Pro Series. All these products are fantastic products that will last for many years.

JOBY Impulse Tripod

Ditch the Timer and Try a  Remote Camera Shutter

Setting the timer on your phone is one of the many solutions to the common problem, “How do I get everyone in the family photo?” This makes the person taking the shot madly dash into the photo and hopefully, it all works out. Then there is the difficulty of knowing when exactly the shot was taken. Sometimes it’s all smiles, and other times there are a few heads turned and closed eyes.

How do you solve this everyday problem? Try a remote camera shutter. That will solve the problem. From 20 feet away you can take the shot and prepare everyone so they know when the picture is being taken. You can take multiple shots in a row or wait a moment to rearrange. This simple device will save you so much time and also save your sanity.

I recommend the Joby Impulse Bluetooth Remote. It works to take one picture or many pictures from a distance. There is no need to run to make it into the shot with the timer. With easy onetime Bluetooth connection your all set to go anytime you use it.

JOBY Impulse Mobile Remote

Make it a Photo Event

Not everyone loves to be in front of the camera. Take the time to make your mobile photography family photo shot an event. Arrange the setting, time, and location. Prepare people on the timing and how long the photos are going to take. This will help you to have a pleasant experience.

When the time comes be prepared with your gear, arrange your family members, and shoot away. Remember to take lots of photos, because not every photo will look great.

Strike a Pose

Having fun with photography can lighten the mood of family members. Take a moment to arrange people as they strike a pose. Try to make it easy by having some planned poses and then some poses that they get to decide. If you find that posing is challenging and the photos look awkward take a breather and have them act naturally. Telling jokes, laughing, dancing, and having fun are a great way to get great natural shots that look amazing.

Take the Photo in Live View

If you have young kids, they are always on the move. You may tell them how to pose, but right as you go to take the photo they have bolted out of the shot. It happens all the time, when taking family photos with your phone. There is a simple hack that will solve that problem.

Shoot in live view for IOS and motion photo for Android. To find the live view option on an Apple device, tap on the circle with the dots in the to menu bar on your native camera app. After you tap the button will be red while you take photos. You will need to turn it off after the photo shoot or every photo will be a live photo. This will use a lot of space on your phone.

To access motion photos on a Samsung go into the camera settings on the manual mode app and turn motion photo on. When you are done with the shoot remember to turn it off or you will have all your photos in live view.

After you have taken the shot, don’t forget to select your favorite shot. Under edit you can select the image. This will show you a timeline of the live video and you can choose the image you prefer.

Edit to Enhance Details

To finish off, take some time to edit the photo. When capturing small details tiny edits will refine your image and add clarity. To do this try the Lightroom app. I love this app when I am trying to improve the detail and color in the image.

| Read how to edit photos in Lightroom

Conclusion

Are you feeling more confident in doing family photography with a phone? I hope so. Here is a brief recap of what we talked about. The first step is to shoot in landscape. You can always crop a landscape into a portrait but you can’t add space to a landscape photo.

Take the time to cherish each day by taking everyday photos of candid moments. Sometimes these are the best memories.

Next, create depth by using portrait mode or by shooting the background in a very far distance. To take a great photo you will need some gear and I recommend using a tripod and a shutter remote.  Lastly, take the time to make it a family event where people have time and you can show them how to pose. Remember to take photos in live view and finish up by editing the photo.

I would love to learn about what kind of photos you have taken with your family? Please share in the comments. 

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