I often get asked how I take such cute pictures of my boys.  I’ll be honest, it doesn’t work every time but I wanted to share some tips on what I do with my boys to get some of the images I do.  You don’t need a fancy camera, you don’t even need the latest iPhone (I have a 6s guys.  Would I love to have that portrait mode though?  You betcha!).  Photoshop is great and all, but it’s not necessary.  All you need is your current phone, a couple (FREE) apps, and a dash of patience.  All the pictures in this post were taken with my iPhone 6s.

Get to know the different photo options on your phone.

Live Mode – Keeping your live mode on helps when going back to edit.  If the picture you took was blurry, go into the editing feature and select a new key photo.  Live more actually saves you picture as a mini (about 1-2 seconds) video.  This feature has helped more than once with my ever moving boys.

Burst Mode – This works a lot like live mode but captures the moment in a number of stills, depending on how long you hold the shutter down.  Burst is great for action shots on the playground, sports activities, toddler life, etc.

Portrait Mode – I’ve played around on a phone with this feature and it’s a game changer.  They’ve really come a long way with  cellphone cameras.  If you want to really highlight your kid(s) in the photo, this mode with set them apart from the background creating a more DSLR looking photo.

(This tip is (mainly) iPhone specific but I’m sure there are options on Androids as well.)

Take A LOT of photos.

You can always go back and delete the bad ones but you never know what you might catch in the in between moments.  Many of my photos are “in between” moments.

Don’t focus on having everyone look at the camera.

A. It’s looks unnatural 90% of the time and B. It’s not gonna happen.  You can get a standard everyone smile pic for school picture day and some family shots for the Christmas card but I find that some of my favorite photos are where one or neither of my kids is looking.  It’s too forced, especially at these young ages, and forced is never cute.  The key to better shots is candidness.  Catch them just being themselves, make them laugh, make them make each other laugh.

Use photo editing apps.

Don’t rely on the the stock filters and editing already in your phone.  My current favorite app is A Color Story.  This app has great tools for manual editing and a wide variety of filters both free and to purchase.  The Main things that contribute to a better photo, in my opinion, are the brightness and the contrast.  Do your best to have as much natural light as possible but, even then, added brightness and contrast makes everything pop.

Patience

Keep clicking that shutter.  Don’t go back and look after every photo or the moment will be gone.  Also know when to just throw in the towel.  Sometimes, it’s just not gonna happen.

Happy picture taking!