Tips for taking better pictures of your friends & family with your smartphone

The smartphone in your pocket has become a very capable tool over the last couple of years. Since you can't bring your favorite portrait photographer Daisy to all your family and friends gatherings, I thought I would share a few tips with you.

If you want to take full advantage of your smartphone's potential, take a look hereunder and get the most out of it.

Use the telephoto lens for portraits

Smartphones these days have multiple lenses built in and manufacturers are pushing the boundaries further each year. Some smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy s20 now have a quad camera setup, yep that’s 4 lenses on the back. Now this gets interesting for portraits, as a longer lens is more flattering for a human’s face, because it produces less distortion. A wide lens tends to exaggerate certain features of a person’s face, especially when it is positioned off-center. So just remember, the telephoto lens is the best option for portraits.

Squat down to eye-level

Most people tend to hold a phone at their eye level when taking a picture. When you want to take a picture of your kid or pet, lower the camera to their eye level. Photographs from that perspective tend to be much more interesting. It gives the viewer some insight in how they look at the world around them.

Look for shade

Most photographers preach the benefits of ‘golden hour’ and rightfully so, but sometimes you want to take a picture during a sunny day around noon. If that’s the case, place your subjects in the shade whenever possible. That way, they don’t need to squint. It also avoids the dreadful ‘panda eyes’, where harsh shadows are visible under their eyes and nose. Modern smartphones try to solve this by using HDR algorithms, but that usually gives a very ‘processed’ look to the images that is not very natural. So when you place your subject in the shade, the dynamic range on the face effectively decreases, benefiting the sensor and your images.

Look for candid moments

Most Street photographers want to be stealthy and rarely use a big DSLR camera like the one I use on my photoshoots. These cameras are very professional but tend to be heavy. The smaller the camera, the less people are ‘aware’ of it. In today’s world, looking at a smartphone screen in public has become the new normal (not the type of behaviour that I would like to promote, but in this context it’s an added bonus). So a smartphone camera has huge advantage here. You are basically invisible in most settings and have the opportunity to shoot truly genuine moments. Capturing a candid moment is a great feeling and I bet one of them will become a photograph you will cherish. It brings an emotional value that you rarely get in a posed photograph.

I hope these tips will help you improve your photography skills to capture your loved ones. And if you prefer to take it to the next level and book your professional photo shoot with images that will last for decades, don't hesitate to schedule a complimentary consultation at my New Jersey Portrait Photography Studio.