Getting Great Photos (Even with Your Phone!)

posted in: Fun stuff, Guest bloggers | 0

Today we’re excited to feature a guest post by mama and photographer Courtney Price. She and her husband (lovingly nicknamed “the Milk Man”) raise 5 kids in North-West Washington. Courtney began photographing her own children when she realized that she could do a better job than the mall! The requests started coming and after a lot of practice and study, Courtney Price Photography was born. Courtney loves music and also teaches voice and piano lessons. She runs a lot, bikes as much as weather will allow, and is currently taking her first ballet class!

There she is again. That mom on your social network of choice who always has great pictures. She might be a professional photographer, but even when she shoots with her phone, those images are better than yours too! What gives?

There are really two main things to keep your eye on when snapping a photo. And really, it only takes a couple of seconds to assess the situation, once you know what to look for.

1. Keep the background simple. The “stuff” of life is very real and I don’t think that you should pretend to be someone you are not by “hiding” an imperfect scene. However, if you want the focus of the image to be your child, pose them away from the garbage can at the park, or just move the dirty rag on the counter before you snap the image of them making a big mess while they eat cake. I have plenty of bad examples of this, would you like to see one?

There is just way too much in the background of this photo. If I would have moved myself, it probably would have looked nicer to just have the storefront behind them instead of cars, people, chairs, bike-racks… you get the idea!

It is always a good idea to move yourself around a bit.

Another angle of the above picture has the line of buoys going straight through his head and another has people that we don’t know walking through the frame in bathing suits (I don’t love pictures of strangers in bathing suits). Those things take the focus from my boy. By moving around on the beach, I got the shot I wanted, just using my phone.

2. Look for light. It does not matter what camera you are using, lighting always comes into play. There are many difficult situations to watch out for.

On an overcast day, light is really diffused and doesn’t have a real direction. On those days, have your child look up at you to catch the light from the sky overhead. Otherwise, you’ll end up with shadowy sockets where their eyes should be. That’s no fun!

If you’re inside, turn toward windows or doors. Again, more light on the face= happy momma! I think that good lighting really showcases a child’s inner glow.

If it’s super sunny, watch out! That can actually make for the worst pictures. Let me give you another bad example, lest you were under the impression that I think I’m perfect!

Ugh! That light it ruining his cute face! In these conditions, it is best to head for shade. Put them entirely in the shade, but just on the edge (and still facing the light). This makes for gorgeous lighting and is also known as “open shade” because it is open to the light, but still technically shade. For instance:

The girls above are just inside the shadow of an awning. And now we can see their pretty faces. If they were standing out about 3 feet, I would only have squinted eyes to look at.

And lastly, be sure to pop out your camera at dusk…

…and at dawn.

Because that is when the light is just plain magical!

So, next time you are about to take a picture think about where the light it coming from and what is behind your subject. Move yourself accordingly and boom! A great shot!

More next time on what to DO with those fabulous images!


If you’re a North-West Washington mama, definitely consider booking a session with Courtney! You can find out more here:

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