Tips on capturing babies, children and the whole family using an iPhone/iPad
This particular picture of a newborn baby and a young child makes me think that it is not that difficult to capture children like this with any camera, even iPhone Camera app, and it looks so cute! Interested to learn a few tips on how to..? Below I share my 5 tips and tricks for parents to take better pictures of their babies, children or the whole family using an iPhone or iPad.
Many people think you need this amazing camera to take pictures. More often they say that they need to get a professional camera like yours to take as good pictures…haha. During my photography training and development I’ve learned it isn’t so. I get lots of likes and compliments about the photos I take purely with my iPhone on the go. The truth is, I don’t often take my DSLR camera with me when we go away, but I still love capturing any special moments of my family…well usually my daughters. Since I always carry my iPhone 6 with me, that is the device that I use for the job and I’ve learned to exploit its possibilities to produce quite good results. Would you like to learn how I do it? Read on…
I’ve recently come across this interesting book by Jason Rich* which is like a guide to iOS skills and photo techniques. Having read it, I’ve decided to prepare a few strategies to quickly improve your picture taking skills based on my experience and that book. So prepare to take some awesome pictures.
Instead of standing directly in front of your children or family when snapping photos, shoot from various angles and perspectives using landscape and portrait mode. Avoid monotony and repetition in your shooting strategy. Have you heard about the Rule of Thirds, negative space and breaking the rules when framing your shots? Use it all or even mix and match to take visually more interesting photos! Utilising the Rule of Thirds, for example, is easier when the Grid feature of the Camera app is turned on (Settings>Photos&Camera>Grid On).
Whether outside or indoors, all my photography is based on natural light – daylight – and I avoid any flashes, lamps or other artificial light. This has an effect on when and how I snap my photos. So I shoot babies in the morning and children or whole family at sunset. Indoors, I position my subjects close to a window but I avoid strong sunlight coming through and use curtains as a diffuser. If outdoors, I shoot in the shade unless it is a cloudy day. As you are framing your shots, pay attention to the location of your primary light source. Position your children either facing the light so that it is shining evenly over them with little or no annoying shadows, or behind for a backlighting effect. Also, watch out for glares, but at times I use them too to create an artistic effect. Basically, use the available light to your advantage depending on your taste. A useful feature to enhance your images is the HDR mode built into the Camera app on your iPhone/iPad. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and should be used when taking picture in low light situations. To turn on HDR mode, tap the HDR On/Off option on the viewfinder screen while shooting.
As soon as you attempt to take a photo on your iPhone/iPad, the camera’s automatic Face Detection feature comes on, which works great for about 1-10 people. Despite this, I always manually activate the camera app autofocus sensor by tapping on the child’s face or area where I want it to focus. By doing this, not only are the children faces in focus but it also helps to set the exposure better, especially if the background is bright. So make sure the AE/AF sensor locks on your intended subject too.
My personal experience with the iPhone Zoom slider is: “avoid using it!”. I’ve discovered very quickly that it often may cause blur or an out-of-focus image and I love my images to be sharp. Instead, I’d use the crop feature when editing the image after taking the shot. Simply use the Crop tool built into the editing mode of the Camera app and reframe an image after it’s been shot, which also enables you to utilise the Rule of Thirds. However, if you decide to use the Zoom after all, my advice is to avoid unnecessary movement or shakes and using a tripod or propping your device on a flat and stable surface. Just remember that this can be tricky when taking pictures of your children as then never stand still, especially the younger ones.
5) SCREEN BRIGHTNESS
When taking photos of your children or whole family outdoors in daylight, one common problem is that the sun reflects off the iPhone screen, which makes it almost impossible to see what’s within the viewfinder. A solution to this could be to position yourself in a shaded area or holding a hand over the iPhone. Otherwise, you may have to guesstimate and check images after they are taken. You can also manually adjust the iPhone screen brightness from the Control Center, which may improve your visibility when in direct sunlight.
What about you, do you have any tips to add? How do you photograph your children or family? Feel free to share in the comments area.
Have a wonderful time capturing you children and family using your iPhone/iPad and thanks for reading
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And if you’d like even more tips and tricks, I recommend you read the next blog post where I’m planning to share my workflow.
*Rich, J.R. (2014) iPad and iPhone Digital Photography Tips and Tricks. USA:Pearson Education, Inc.