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How to shoot with your Smart Phone!


I sometimes hear: "I have a great phone camera and my pictures often come out nice, still, I don't think I do it right." Now, I'm not going to say that you shouldn't hire a photographer for those really special moments. AT LEAST once a year you should document your whole family with a pro because there is always someone missing from the pictures: the one taking the picture! But, a professional photographer isn't always needed!

Here are three of my favorite things to do when I have to shoot with my smart phone.

1. Lighting:

So, I know that we can't always get ideal lighting but we should know enough to get it done right, Too much light and people are squinting. Too little light and the images are pixelated. So, if it's in a room with an open window, have everyone stand adjacent to it! Do not stand in front of it with your back toward it. Then the faces are too dark and can't be seen!

If you're outside, look for shade and position people there. This way everyone's face is much clearer and no one is having to squint from the sun.

The model here is my daughter, Isabel, and we're in the playroom.

Light is trouble in this room

because even though it has a large window there are several trees

that cast shade the front of our house.

So, the light just doesn't come in!

(I'm shooting with a iPhone X.)

This is an example of bad lighting.

You could fix this with a white board, but I don't expect anyone to just have one handy.

Don't do this!

2. Angles:

I can't stress enough on angles, angles and angles. It's as easy as it sounds. Each gender and age has angles that best suit them. For babies, kids and women avoid shooting under/below the face. For men it's OKAY but it just looks awkward! Avoid leaving a lot of space between the subject and the camera which can be dead space. But keep it SIMPLE!

Here again is Isabel and we're still in the playroom. I positioned myself more to the side so we weren't getting a silhouette effect.

This is a combined example of bad angle,

dead space, and lighting.

As a simple family picture

I would not print this

or even really keep it in my phone.

She looks super cute,

but that is not hard for her. LOL

Now, I moved her to the windowsill

(still shooting with my iPhone X), and I'm on the Portrait selection on Natural light setting. I am also framing her correctly.

-This I will demonstrate in the Third section-

Now, you can see her much better,

her face is well lit,

the dead space is gone

and it still looks really natural

because she is just easy to shoot.

But, number one thing with kids:

is there willingness to take the picture?

3. Framing!

I love, love, love, love framing!!!!!! I really do. Shooting with a frame draws the viewer’s eye through the created frame. A frame within a frame. This is a great way to create depth in your photo, and draws the subject in. I can't say enough about framing and they make your shots 10x more interesting.

Here is an example of framing:

This was shot with a Galaxy s4 in Mary Brickell Village, late morning and later edited in instagram. There are all kinds of photoshop-type apps that will spruce up your images.

Here are a few more that might help you...

This is my bedroom and we have great natural lighting in here.

It's double the size of the playroom

and I'm still shooting with my iPhone X,

This is an example of a

bad angle and dead space.

There is some framing used

so it gives some interest,

but not enough!

We can do MUCH better than this, right?

Same bedroom and we've found a much better eye-level angle.

I am also using the Portrait mode

on Natural light setting.

If your phone has similar tricks, try them!

This is an example of a better angle

and no dead space,

Yes, there's some framing which is the yellow blanket which gives a great contrast.

So, it creates some more interest,

but not enough!

The objects in the background create some distraction

AHHHH. I found the happy place!

Shifted a bit to the right and can you see the difference?

This is an example of good angle

and no dead space +

YES to the framing.

The yellow is perfect and so are the objects now in the background.

Now, you don't have to go as crazy as I do. But, this helps you create you own little masterpieces that you can admire.

It's all very simple and you can always reshoot until you have the images you want. Just keep in mind: people are not going to sit there as long as this little boat. =)


I know what some are thinking: Amy, this is not THAT easy! But, you can take a little time to practice and I know you'll get the hang of it. Also use youtube. So many tutorials there.

This is not in any way to stop you from hiring photographers because your child's newborn session is no walk in the park. A wedding can be very challenging, Wedding images are forever and your kids will be showing these images to you grandchildren, and you don't want a wedding fail.

Gannon Studios, LLC - Family, Lifestyle and Child Miami Photographers!

We are not only Miami Photographers, we do travel!

Call us for help or questions on booking YOUR session!

Ph: 305.588.7210

Email: amy@gannonstudios.net


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Based in South Florida. we are a Miami Family, Children & Portrait Photographer 

Gannon Studios, LLC

8200 NW 41st Street, Suite 200, Doral, FL  33166

info@gannonstudios.net

Tel: 786.232.3940

©2023 by Gannon Studios, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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