4 Keys to Take Better Pictures

photo phone tips

Written by Angela Silva

For the average person, photos serve a specific purpose: to capture memories. To help us remember how we looked, how we felt, how we lived, and we interacted with the world around us.

Stop and think about the things you want to remember about your life right now, the things you would like to look back on. Maybe it’s how your kids look when they’re totally consumed in playing in their own little world, or how your husband looks when he caught a huge fish, or how your grandma looks when she’s reminiscing on the early days of her marriage. We don’t constantly sit around on couches in fields or stand around against perfectly white backgrounds in designer clothes – so here are some key elements to taking better pictures that will capture the things you really want to remember.

1. Use natural light

Skip the flash as much as possible. Open the windows and let the soft, natural light inside. Don’t be a statue when you’re taking pictures, move around and find an angle that lets the light hit your subject, and click away. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a point-and-shoot camera, your iPhone, or a DSLR – natural light will best capture how your subject and background really looked.

2. Capture the details

Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal. In fact getting close will help you capture details better than a zoom (as long as your subject is comfortable with your close proximity). The details of water droplets on a flower in the garden you worked so hard at growing, the wrinkles on your mom’s face when she’s smiling, the tiny teeth poking through your baby’s gums – these are the things you want to remember, the things you’ll miss when they’re gone.

3. Candid over posed

This falls in line with the first two keys, but don’t be afraid to scrap the poses and simply ask your subjects to go about their conversation or activity. Have you ever tried getting your kids to sit still AND smile for a camera? It’s like asking them to rub their tummy and pat their head at the same time. So instead, give them their favorite toys and let them play. Capture their excitement and facial expressions as they do. Ask your grandparents to talk about a beloved memory, and move around as you capture different angles as their faces relive the feelings.

4. The rule of thirds

Look at the frame of picture you’re shooting and pretend there is a tic-tac-toe board laid across it. Move your camera so that the subject of the photo is where the tic-tac-toe lines intersect. You’ll find that moving subjects away from the very center of a photo helps them become more interesting. Related to this, put the horizon on one of the horizontal tic-tac-toe lines, not right in the middle of the frame.

Remember, it is life’s moments that you want to remember, not staged poses. Use these 4 keys to capture the feelings and the emotions surrounding your subjects, and you’ll have a priceless collection of treasured photos to last a lifetime.

Extra tip: For editing photos on your phone, we like Snapseed.

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