We can't all have a photographer on stand by to capture everyday moments between loved ones, that's why we invest in camera phones (and carry it around with us religiously). Lets face it, having a built in camera in your phone is simply A-MAI-ZING! And the cameras that the generous cell phone developers include with your smartphone is top notch.
Now, all the brilliant tech in the world can't guarantee a good shot so I have assembled a short list of basic know-hows that will improve your photography.
1. Sun or shade?
Check where your light is coming from. Having midday sun right in your subjects face is not going to have a pleasant effect. They will be all squinty eyed with scrunched noses.
Light that is behind your subject (backlight) will darken your subject. This is great for a dramatic photo but a bad idea for a family photo.
Look for even light or soft light to catch your subject just right.
2. Rule of Thirds
This rule is as important today as when it was first invented. If your phone has a grid view, Great! Otherwise imagine there are two horizontal and two vertical line dividing your screen into 9 equal blocks. Each horizontal and vertical line represents a third of your screen.
Your aim is to place the most interesting part of your photo where these lines intercept each other, eg. a tree or a person walking down the street.
Placing your main subject in the middle of the photo every single time makes it boring, but move it to the side and suddenly you get a whole new different feel.
Not everyone in the photo needs to stand in a row, this is modern day photography, not a school photo in the 1950s.
Kids can sit on moms' lap with dad behind them and another kid on the side and the dog in front. Mix it up, go crazy!
The same rule applies with your surroundings. You don't have to stand against a white wall to get a good shot. Creating some distance between your subject and the background makes the photo more interesting.
Your subject also doesn't have to stand in front of everything. Have them stand behind an open staircase or sit on a park bench but behind the fountain.
4. Change your point of view.
When you are photographing kids or animals, get down on their level. It's amazing how going from a standing position to lying down on the floor makes a mediocre photo spectacular!
Or stand on a chair/ladder/staircase and get a birds eye view.
I always end up on the floor, and honestly, that's where I enjoy being the most. I love this angle!
5. Forget the smile
Everyone is expected to smile in a photo and it often leaves people annoyed, especially that individual who feels forced to do this silly family photo again. For the up teenth time. Every. Single. Year. I know because I was that person who hated being in front of the camera and who doesn't understand the forced smile and pretentiousness.
As a mother, I love catching my kids in the middle of a laugh but I thoroughly enjoy their other expressions as well. Some of my favourite photos are where they show very little emotion, I love it because it is taken in the moment.
Instead of aiming for that perfect smile rather opt for an authentic moment. With a bit of time they might come out their shell and give you a genuine smile after all.