Tips To Take Better Photos of Your Kids With Your Phone

April 8, 2020

As a Nashville family and milestones photographer I love empowering you to capture and remember the season your family is in. It’s the heart behind every milestone and family session I photograph. While I can’t be there to capture every giggle and hand hold, I can empower you to photograph and edit your photos like a professional.

My hope is that these tips to take better photos of your kids with your phone will help you feel more confident when documenting your everyday magic and including your iPhone photos with your albums and framed images.

Here are some of my tried and true tips for taking better photos of your family with your phone!


The Basics of Lighting

Lighting is step 1 to a great picture! I know it can be tricky when you’re not sure what to look for, but I will walk you through my best practices and pro-tips. My first pick is always natural light in a bright room. I open up blinds and move curtains to allow natural light in through windows or doors. I always turn off artificial lights like lamps and overhead lights when possible. And I do my best to avoid the auto-flash that sometimes turns on your phone! Here are your best options when it comes to lighting your phone pictures:

Natural Light- If you’re taking photos of your kid indoors, find a spot with plenty of natural light. A big window with sun shining through will create the perfect lighting for your pictures! This option is perfect for taking pictures inside a nursery, or maybe in your living room on the couch.

Soft light and Open Shade – If you’re outside, try to find open shade or wait until there is soft light. Soft light happens within the 2 hours after sunrise and the 2 hours before sunset. If you can take your family photos outside on a sunny day in some open shade, it will take the guesswork out of finding the right light. 

Backlight- If your kid is outside in direct sun, you will want to turn their back to the light. Squinty eyes and a bright face don’t create album-worthy pictures. By turning their back to the sun, you will still have light around you but it won’t be a distraction. 

Pro Tip: If you are taking pictures on vacation or at a park during play time, you will most likely experience direct sun or high noon sun. It appears like the perfect, blue-skied sunny day! This is a great time to practice backlighting. Put your kid’s back to the sun to better control the harshness of the light. 



Framing is essentially the difference between an average photo and a great one! There’s a lot that goes into framing, but today I’m sharing 4 ways to elevate your framing and capture a perfect picture of your kids with your phone! 

Get Down On Their Level – How often are you standing above your kid when you snap a photo? Your first thought probably isn’t to change your positioning to get down on their level. When you take a picture at eye-level with your kid, you suddenly change the perspective of your image. Getting down on their level will make your photos stand out way more, and you’ll capture their essence and personality better!

Composition – Composition is everything that makes up your photo and it’s what makes your picture stand out! The best place to start when composing your picture is to think of the rule of thirds. (Rule of thirds: When you cut the photo in 9 equal parts, with 3 vertical sections.) For the rule of thirds you’ll want the focus of your picture to fall on one of these intersecting lines. I obviously don’t do this for every picture, but it’s a great practice to keep in mind!

Other elements of composition include headroom and negative space. These refer to the empty areas between and around your focus. Don’t be afraid to leave a little breathing room in your frame and to not crop in too close!

Keep it Straight – A crooked picture is always distracting. Aim to keep your background nice and straight. If your picture is crooked, use the crop and straighten tool on your phone to edit it.

Eliminate Distractions – Eliminating distractions is the best way to keep the focus on the one you love! You don’t want to draw your eye to something in the background or a distracting element. Remove clutter or messy distractions from the background to create a clean, and simple image.


Be Candid

You know what doesn’t typically work to capture great photos of your kid? Asking them to sit still, smile and say cheese! Don’t be afraid to capture the little in-between moments instead. Their giggles during play time, their creativity when crafting, and the everyday magic. These kinds of pictures capture a real glimpse of childhood. 

When you do want to capture a posed shot, remember to keep it quick and make it fun! You can position them where you want and then ask them a question to entice a smile. 


Q: Do you remember what Daniel Tiger did yesterday? Did you like when Daniel Tiger shared his toys with the others?

A: YEAH (with a happy smile)

Click Photo (Success!)

 Pro Tip: Remember to keep it quick and make it fun when taking posed pictures of your kid smiling and standing still. 


Get in the Shot

I know unless your job is an influencer it can be tricky to want to hop in the picture with your tinies. Most days your hair is laced with dry shampoo, no makeup on, and you opted for the yoga pants. When you don’t feel like a supermodel, it’s easier to take a pic of just your gorgeous little one. But please… hop in the picture anyways! 

You can use the self-timer feature on your phone so you can set your phone down and run into the shot with your littles! 



Ready to capture and edit the giggles, messes, and sweet moments in between our normal family sessions? I’ve created mobile presets to instantly and flawlessly edit your phone pictures. My preset collection was designed to produce a clean, true-to-life color edit for pictures taken with your phone! They allow you to seamlessly match your phone pictures to the photos we have taken together in our sessions.


I hope this was helpful and I can’t wait to see the sweet memories you capture of your family!


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Nashville entrepreneur, personal brand and wedding photographer, and digital marketing consultant. I'm on a mission to empower and encourage women in their current season of life, whether that is business and entrepreneurship, marriage, or motherhood. 

I'm Mandy


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