I taught a class last week to a bunch of mommies and asked them what they wanted to learn. How to make better photos with their camera phone, they all said. Here are a few notes from the class.

Top issues with camera photos:

1. Blurry photos
2. Dark photos
3. Movement in the photos
4. Camera won’t take the photo when press the button

Here are some suggestions to help you overcome some common problems. NOTE: Obviously the photos attached are not camera phone photos, BUT they do illustrate some of the concepts I am talking about. I will try to make some camera phone photos and add to this article.

1. Brighten it up. Try making your photos in lots of light. The camera phones will get better, but right now, they are still only able to shoot with a lot of light.  Turn on a lamp, open the curtains. Brighten up the scene. The key here is the have DIFFUSED SIDE LIGHTING. Think of the light on a cloudy day. It is very even and soft, but bright. Try to have this light coming from the side of your baby or subject or from behind you, not over head or from behind the subject.

Mother child photography, family photography, baby photography

2. Tight Cropping. Crop your images tightly, tighter than you think works. Experiment with cropping.Try cropping into just the face and getting rid of distracting background.

Baby photography

3. Practice Anticipating.  Camera phones have rudimentary focusing so there is a delay from when you press the button and when the camera takes the photos. It will get better but for now, try to anticipate the expression you want and press the button EARLIER than it happens. You know your child. You know what they do and how they move and what expressions are coming. Try this technique and see if it helps get those winning smiles.

Family photography

4. Panning. This is a little bit more advanced of a technique but can work with a little practice. As your child moves across the floor, hold your camera phone and move it at the same pace that your child is moving. As you do this, keep snapping photos all the time. It might take a little practice, but you might capture a few gems with motion blur in the background but your child will be sharp.

5. Apps.  Try using a few of the many camera apps out there. My favorite is the Hipstamatic. But Instagram is also very popular. Procamera is another one that gives you a little more control of the focus and exposure, along with an anti-shake feature.

Have fun!


    • Simple Clothing. Dress your baby or subject up in simple clothes. Get rid of the branding and the patterns so the focus is actually on the face and expressions. If this isn’t possible then do your best to frame the photo as tightly as possible to get eliminate anything distracting in the frame.
    • Best Time of Day. When is your child at their best? Try to photograph about this time. Guaranteed you will get better photographs.


Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!