Taking great photos at home might mean a few candid snaps to document your family’s life in isolation, or setting up posed shots of your children. And without professional photographers to help right now, instead Alison Pearce from Captured by Alison gives you some tips to help you feel confident in using your phone or camera to take great photos (and yes, all these images were taken by Alison on an iPhone)!
Taking great photos at home: Top five photographer’s tips!
1. Get on their level
If I could only give you one very simple piece of advice for taking great photos at home, it would be to get down to your child’s level. Whether it be your toddler’s grin as they gleefully stumble towards you or the furrowed brow of concentration as your teenager attempts their latest algebraic problem, you can capture so much more of their expression and perspective if you are on their level, rather than taking the photo from above (unless of course, your teenager has already surpassed you in height, then you may like to jump onto the kitchen stool!)
There are exceptions to every rule though and I do like to take close ups of my children from above when I’m trying to accentuate their eyes or eyelashes.
2. Be aware of the natural light around you
There is so much I could say about natural light (in fact it really deserves an article of its own)! But in the interest of brevity, I’ll simply say that it is an incredibly important tool and you should be aware of it as you take your photos.
If you are inside, why not move closer to the window to make the most of the natural light (because let’s face it, it’s much nicer than the yellow globes most of us have in our lounge rooms).
If you are outside, notice where the light is coming from and where it’s landing. Are there patches of bright light interrupting shadow in your shot? Perhaps you need to rotate your subjects or move yourself to get a more even light.
Of course if you’re taking a candid snap, you won’t have time to move people around, but it can help to turn the exposure down a touch before you take the photo to avoid blown highlights. You can always touch up the photo with the built-in editing tools on your phone.
3. Think before you click (and cull)
Not every moment is something that needs to be captured in a photo. Sometimes (actually, often) my youngest does something hilarious that I want to remember and I am tempted to whip out my phone and snap a picture, but then I realise it’s just a brief moment that probably wouldn’t translate well into a photo and it’s much better for me to simply be present in that moment, laugh along with him and remember it in my mind (I also keep a diary on my phone of all the funny antics my children get up to).
Sometimes I ignore my own advice and take the photo anyway. But when I go to review it later, I realise the photo just doesn’t capture what was happening and I end up deleting it.
That‘s something else that I highly recommend: culling. I strongly believe that you will appreciate the photos you have much more if you take the time to cull it down to only your favourites, rather than having 50 photos of the same thing (which is what I’m tempted to keep, so I feel your pain!) I have a nightly ritual of going through the photos I’ve taken that day and deleting any unnecessary ones. It’s also a lovely way to remember the fun we’ve had.
4. Experiment with what you have
In isolation, learning about taking great photos at home is a great time to try different modes on your phone or camera. If your phone has a portrait mode, give it a go! For the best results, I recommend good light and a relatively still subject to avoid the phone confusing subject and background. If you have a DSLR and you’ve always wanted to take it out of auto mode, do it and keep practising until you get the hang of it! Often the instruction booklet that came with it will have some great beginner tips.
5. Keep at it!
Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t happy with your first attempts taking great photos at home.
The more you practice, the better you will become!
Phone photos will never be as good as professionally captured images but they certainly have their place and are so important in these times when we can’t take those photos for you. There is so much more I could say but I hope these five tips have been a helpful start.
If you have any questions or want some feedback on photos you’ve taken, Alison is very happy to help. You can contact her through her Facebook page . Yes, all images in this article have been taken with an iPhone 8 Plus!