As parents we want to document every single beautiful moment in life, taking at least a dozen photographs of a single moment in time because we love to soak up every little change in expression. Remember the afternoon walk when your toddler picked you a flower unprompted for the first time? You thought your heart was going to burst at its seams. The first time she jumped in a mud puddle and with such joy on her face? Then she decided she couldn’t make it to the house without stripping off the wet, sandy clothes and marched to the house in nothing but her rain boots completely uninhibited. Unfortunately, we don’t always have access to our “real” camera in those moments. It’s heavy, and being adventurous with the little ones might make you worry (as you should) for its safety. Cell phones aren’t the best cameras for low lighting, like when you are indoors with little to no window light, but don’t let that stop you from trying. There is a certain beauty to those photographs, even if they come out “low quality.” I’d like to write a short series on how I go about creating iPhone photographs that I absolutely cherish and can sometimes even turn out frame or collage worthy. Here are a few rules I follow.
- No matter how poor I think of the setting, I try anyway. I need a little light at least, but even just a single lamp can help. The image may be dark, super grainy, or even a little blurry but if the story in it moves me.
- I avoid using a flash 99% of the time, cellphone flash seems to ruin everything for me.
- Check the background for clutter and consider the best angles. With little ones I always try getting down on their level or even try looking at things from their perspective.
- Identify the closest light source and if possible put the faces or the focus of my image in that light.
- Think about the details, photographs don’t have to be of faces. Little feet, hands, or just a smile all tell a story.
- Take a few shots, check them and make adjustments if I have the time, then try again. I cull and sometimes edit later.
Below are some of my favorite iPhone pics. They are far from perfect, but each one brings back memories just the same. Next time I’ll discuss the most popular cellphone photography apps and how I edit on my phone.
Just for fun, I’d like to encourage everyone to plan a small craft or activity and use those moments for playing around with cellphone photography. I’d love to see how you tell a story with those images!