A photography instructor of mine asked his class “What is the BEST camera you can have?” The class grew quiet as we all thought carefully, weighing the pros and cons of different brands and models of high-end cameras. After about a minute the instructor looked around the room and said slowly, “it’s the one you have with you”.
That has stuck with me ever since. It reminds me that whether you have a big expensive camera or your smartphone or an old-school disposable camera, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you manage to capture those special everyday moments that you want to keep!
Here are a few tips I found to help my phone images look better and to get them off my phone but keep them accessible:
As the the mother of a toddler, I know those moments come and go at lightning speed so I’d better be ready. My big fancy camera is handy and ready to go, but sometimes it’s much faster to just reach for my phone.
Quick tips for taking better smartphone photos:
- Find good, natural light. If possible, have your subject face the direction of the light source (window/door when inside). If outside, have your subjects face away from the sun to avoid squinting and harsh light on the face.
- Turn off your flash. Flash creates harsh, unnatural-looking light.
- Turn off the lights when inside to avoid a yellow tint to your photos.
I always use the native camera on my phone to take my photos but I don’t edit them there. I recently started using PicTapGo for editing and I love it! It’s very simple to use. It links to your camera roll so you can easily choose which photo to edit. Then it gives you many filters to choose from, which you can layer and control the intensity of using a slider. I like to use Lighten Up + Contrast. You can save your filter “recipe” so you can edit future photos with the exact settings you like. After you are done editing, you have the option to post to Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, save the edited version to your camera roll, email, text, and more.
I ended up with hundreds of storage hogging photos on my phone that I didn’t need but I also didn’t want to get rid of. There are many ways to manage the storage of your phone photos, but this one was the most convenient and simple way for me. Since I use Gmail, it only made sense to look into the Google Photos App. The app backs up my photos to my Google account and deletes them off my phone. I know “delete” sounds scary, but you will have access to them through the Google Photos App on your phone so it’s like they’re still there! Now I have storage space again!
The other way I keep my phone photos without having them sitting on my phone is by printing them into books. Chatbooks are little coffee table books filled with your phone photos! They’re affordable to print, great quality and very sturdy. You can download their app and print right from your Instagram account, or go to their site and upload your phone images to make your custom books. I had so many pictures of my sons first year of life that I had to make one for every three months. Now I have a nice set for us all to enjoy as he grows older.
Smartphones are awesome. I really can’t imagine how I’d manage my life without one now! I’m especially excited that the cameras on the phones today are becoming more advanced and producing really sharp images. There really is no excuse for not capturing all those special moments as they happen. With these tips, I hope you can now get better photos with your phone and then turn them into a tangible piece of family memories.