Mobile Phonetography Tips for Parents

It has never been easier for parents to capture the life and special times of their children. Today’s smartphone cameras offer such high-quality images that for many, they have replaced the point-and-shoot camera.

Parent blogger Darcie Gust, author of Gust Gab, takes thousands of pictures to slow life down and reflect on the joys of the daily routine with her two children and husband. “Milestones happen daily, pictures help me look back on the memories. That’s why I use the camera on my smartphone so much,” she noted. While she uses her smartphone on most occasions, she still finds it valuable to have a professional photographer for traditional family portraits because they have an experienced eye and knowledge of more sophisticated photo technology. 

The huge growth in mobile device “phonetography” has led professional photographer Cary Rothschild to begin teaching groups of aspiring phonetographers to help them get the most out of their phone’s cameras. “Especially with kids, a few principles will allow you to view their world differently, giving your family more interesting pictures that will be suitable for framing,” he said.

Rothchild’s tips include:  

  1. Hold the phone with both hands and hold it horizontally. Stabilizing the phone will help yield sharper pictures with better exposure.

  2. Change angles. Get low or get above the subject to create interesting composition.

  3. Look for lines. Frame the subject using converging lines and leading lines (some smartphones have this feature built in to the phone’s camera).

  4. Lock exposure by tapping the part of the picture you want to properly expose. For an image with strong backlight, tap on the subject to expose them properly or tap on the background to create a silhouette.

  5. Use the rule of thirds to create energy. For example, this landscape shot doesn’t put the horizon in the middle of the page and captures a bit of the sun in the upper right hand corner to make it a more interesting shot.

Lastly, Rothschild suggests mobile apps such as Snapseed and VSCO Cam for editing images. They can improve lighting and subject exposure as well as offer filters. 

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