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How to Take Better Photos with Your Cell Phone

1. Clean off the camera. I know that sounds silly, but we rarely do it! It’s hard to get a clear image when the camera is covered with fingerprints and smears. The result can be a hazy image or a bit of a halo effect. Be sure to wipe off both cameras (front and back) depending on how you’re using the phone.

2. Get close to a window. You want your subject to face the window so that the light falls evenly over their face. For a more artistic/dramatic look, you can have the window to the side of your subject. Avoid shooting toward the window. Professionals know how to shoot toward the light but if you try this with your phone it will put your subject in shadow and make them quite dark. Unless you want a photo of a silhouette its best to avoid this angle.

3. Avoid zooming in. The best option is to move your body closer to your subject and shoot at the widest your phone will go. The zoom functions on cameras are a “digital” zoom so don’t allow for sharp, clear images.

4. Shoot eye level if not slightly higher than the person for a more flattering effect. Never shoot lower than the subject or up the nose. When you shoot from a higher angle down on the subject it has a slimming effect, and it also allows the light to hit the face in a more flattering manner as well.

5. When shooting outdoors try to find shade. If that’s not an option be sure to shoot from a higher angle down when possible. Avoid shooting toward the sun or having your subject looking at the sun (so to avoid squinting). If they can raise their chins slightly it will cut back on the shadow around their eyes.

6. Moving subjects. Taking photos of kids with your cell is difficult-especially if they’re squirmy and move a lot like mine. The best way is to have plenty of light and stay zoomed out to a wide angle. Have your phone/camera out and ready when taking a photo of kids. They’ll usually only be still enough for a brief moment. If you want to take a photo of them running, be sure to move your camera at the same speed and scan the landscape following them. If you have an iPhone the portrait mode tends to be slower so can be more difficult to get a clear image in that mode if your subject is antsy.

7. Don’t over edit. There’s been a big trend lately to over smooth the skin using various editing apps. The result is photos with plastic looking people. While we all want to look our best, we want to look like us, not a mannequin. Try to adjust the brightness a bit higher and slight color adjustments before you over edit the skin.

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