Atlanta Newborn and Family Photographer » Atlanta Newborn and Family Photographer

As a Dunwoody Newborn Photographer I know how important it is for moms to take lots and LOTS of photos of their new babies and little ones.  They change and grow so fast!  For most of us that means our camera phones are going to get some pretty heavy use.

Yet we all know from experience with our camera phones that sometimes you may get a great photo – but many times, you don’t.

Often your camera images come out grainy or blurry and out of focus, or just don’t look all that interesting. I’m here to help!  Camera phones do have their limitations but there are some ways that we can work within those limitations to create better photos.  Below are three tips that will drastically improve your iPhone photos (be sure to check out the video tutorial at the end of this post!):

Be aware of the light in which you are taking photos.

Avoid low light: Camera phones are not equipped to deal well with low light.  Whenever possible, make sure you have plenty of light to work with when taking photos with your camera phone. Low light can tend to lead to blurry photos because the camera is using a low shutter speed in order to get enough light to take the photo.  It can also lead to grainy images.

Look for even light: Make sure the light in which you are taking photos is falling evenly on your subject.  Look out for dappled light or bright spots of light on the skin. If the light on your subject isn’t even change your camera angle or look for some open shade where the light is more even.

Turn off the overhead lights: Make sure there is only one source of light.  When you are indoors this means turning off the overhead lights so that you are using only the natural light coming through your windows.  This is helpful because it won’t confuse the camera as to which light source it should give priority to and you won’t have the unnatural looking orange colors that tend to result from indoor lighting.

Be artistic with your use of light: Look for interesting light, such as light coming from behind your subject (back light) or light coming from the side (directional light).  There are no great photos without great light and interesting light makes for a beautiful photo.  Without interesting light even photos taken with a “real” camera can look boring.  This is where your artistic eye comes into play, no matter the camera you are holding in your hand!

Dunwoody Newborn Photographer

This iPhone photo has directional lighting, coming from the window on the left. This adds interest because there are areas of light and shadow in the photo.

Choose your focal point.

This is the one thing you can do when taking the photo that will drastically improve your chances of getting the photo in focus and properly exposed (not to bright or too dark).  Using your camera’s native camera app, hold your finger on the phone’s screen and keep it down until you see the message “AE/AF lock.”  This means that your focal point is locked where you want it.  This is also the point that the camera will use to determine the exposure of the photo.  If you are photographing a person, this should be on their face.  It should be wherever you want the focal point of the photo to be.  Be sure not to move after you lock the focal point but go ahead and take the photo.

In this photo you can see that I placed my focal point on the pony’s eye and that is the most in-focus point in the image (anyone else have a lot of these around their house??):

Dunwoody Newborn Photographer

This is more easily accomplished with a relatively still subject, so it may not always be possible to use this feature of your camera phone.  Whenever possible, though, I recommend choosing your focal point to get sharper photos.

A helpful app:

For those interested in a greater degree of control while taking photos with your phone you may want to check out Camera +. Camera + is an app that allows you to choose not only your focal point but your exposure point. It also allows you to change your shutter speed and ISO independently and you can adjust the white balance before taking the photo (make the image warmer or cooler). You can make it as “manual” or as “auto” as you wish – Camera + can do both.

Camera + has a lot of great capabilities, but it can be overly complicated for the photos most of us want to take – photos of our moving children. But for those who want more artistic control by all means have a play!

Camera + can be helpful in a situation where you have an image with light and dark areas because you can separate the focal point from the exposure point. If there isn’t much light on your subject you can move the exposure point to a darker area of the image. That will result in lightening up your subject. If you want your subject to appear darker you can move the exposure point to a brighter area of the image. You can play with it for different effects.

Dunwoody Newborn Photographer

Camera + allows you to control the focal point and the exposure independently

 

Dunwoody Newborn Photographer

I took this silhouette using the Camera + app by separating the focal point from the exposure point. I placed the exposure point on a bright area of the photo, making the subject darker.

Use photo editing software to make up for what your camera phone can’t do.

Camera phones have a fixed aperture, which means that it’s hard, if not impossible, to get the blurry backgrounds that separate the subject from the background and really make a photo pop.  It’s not possible to control this while taking photos with your phone, but it is possible to add blur and to adjust your photos in other ways that will make them look much more polished.

My favorite editing app is called Snapseed.  It’s free!  With Snapseed you can:

•add background blur

•make global adjustments

•make selective adjustments

•correct blemishes and lots more

all from your phone!  It’s a really powerful tool for improving your camera phone photos.  Here are some before and after photos edited with Snapseed (video tutorial below!):

Dunwoody Newborn Photographer

iPhone pics before and after adjustments made with Snapseed

one caution:

One word of caution about photos made with camera phones.  As you will see it’s possible to do a lot to improve them.  It’s a wonderful thing to have beautiful everyday memories.  But please be aware that your camera photos are not going to enlarge well.  I’m a huge advocate of printing your memories (check out this great info on printing your camera photos here) but there is a level of quality that can only be achieved with better equipment and the know how to make high quality images.  They may look good on a small screen but in many cases won’t print well much larger than 4×6, maybe 5×7.  By all means do print your memories, but also manage your expectations of what your device can do and make sure you occasionally get some higher quality photos with a “big” camera, too.

video tutorial:

How to use Snapseed to improve your camera phone photos:

If you found this video helpful, please share it on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook Share icon at the bottom of this post.  We would love to have you join us in Atlanta Moms with Cameras,  a private Facebook group for local Atlanta moms where you can learn more and improve your camera skills!

And if you are looking for a Dunwoody Newborn Photographer, I would love to talk with you.  Please hit the contact button to get in touch.  I can’t want to hear from you!

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North Atlanta Family PhotographerAs a North Atlanta Family Photographer something I believe in strongly is the importance of high quality prints.  The majority of photographers today provide a disk of digital images to their clients and nothing more.  All of my collections do include digital images so that my clients get the best of both worlds, but I always make sure that my clients leave with something more, something tangible.

North Atlanta Family Photographer

I am committed to providing my clients with something lasting.

As it turns out, without active upkeep, digital files won’t last forever.  And sadly, a large percentage of people who purchase digital files from a photographer never have them printed.  They may be enjoyed on a birth announcement or on social media for a moment, but they are not being enjoyed day by day in the family’s home.  Family life is busy, and it’s hard to make decisions about where and how to display photos.  Once those beautiful photos are made the majority of them end up living – and eventually dying – on computer hard drives.

I refuse to let that happen to my clients.  Those beautiful photos should be on display for all to see and enjoy!

I am absolutely in love with the images boxes I offer.  They are MEMORIES YOU CAN HOLD.  Depending on the collection you choose, your image box will come with 10 or 20 of your favorite 5×7 images mounted on 2mm thick black styrene, making the prints strong and durable.

North Atlanta Family Photographer

I love the versatility of the image box.  You can keep your images in the box to display on a table top, like an album.  But unlike an album you can take the photos out individually to display in frames around your home.  Or, you can rotate them out on the display easel that comes with the image box.

North Atlanta Family Photographer

Or you can take them out to just hold and enjoy your beautiful memories.

North Atlanta Family PhotographerMy professional lab guarantees their prints to last 100 years when cared for properly.  These are heirloom quality.  Truly, these are memories you can hold and cherish for years to come.

These memories won’t die on a hard drive.  They will live to be passed down to the next generation.

North Atlanta Family Photographer

North Atlanta Family Photographer

If you are looking for a North Atlanta Family Photographer, I would love to talk with you.  Let’s create some beautiful memories you can hold onto forever.  Please hit the contact button to get in touch.

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Atlanta Photographer_0005Summer is here and it’s HOT here in Atlanta.  I don’t know about you but my kids are constantly asking me for ice-cream.  I can’t blame them.  It is the perfect time for frozen treats and I’ve got one to share with you that is quick, sweet, creamy and healthy!  It can also be made dairy-free.  And as an Atlanta Photographer, I can’t share this recipe without lots of photos, because a picture is worth a thousand words, right? 😉

Atlanta Photographer_0000Frozen Banana “Ice Cream”

(I first found this recipe HERE)

•4 frozen bananas

•flavoring of your choice

Here are the step by step instructions:

1.  Slice your bananas and place them in a blender (a strong blender that can keep blending for 5 minutes or so is recommended for this job).

Atlanta Photographer_00012.  Start blending – the bananas will look crumbly.  Keep going!

Atlanta Family Photographer_00023.  You will know your bananas are turning into “ice cream” when the mixture starts to look creamy on the bottom.  It’s fun to watch this change happen.  Keep blending until it’s all smooth.  You will probably need to blend for at least five minutes before the bananas change over entirely to “ice cream.” Atlanta Photographer_0003

4.  Add the flavoring of your choice.  I added peanut butter.  Other great options would be Nutella, chocolate chips, or fruit.

Atlanta Photographer_00045.  For a “soft serve” texture, serve immediately.  For a firmer ice cream freeze and enjoy later!

Atlanta Photographer_0005

I hope you try this fun and easy recipe and do it with your kids.  They will love it.  It’s really fun to watch the magic happen as the bananas transform into “ice cream” before your eyes!  Be sure to share this recipe with your friends!

If you are looking for an Atlanta Photographer, I would love to hear from you.  Hit the contact button in the menu to get in touch.

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As an Atlanta Area Family Photographer I’m always looking for great information to share with my clients and friends.  Since becoming a mom ten(!) years ago now, I have found myself becoming increasingly concerned with toxins and chemicals in the environment and particularly in and around our home.  I’m always really happy when I can find a safer alternative that works for our family.

I’ve recently discovered a way to deal with unsightly weeds in our flower beds without the use of conventional weed killers.  This makes me happy because I like for my garden to look tidy but I don’t like using chemical pesticides and herbicides.  So here’s my green weed solution:

atlanta-area-family-photographer30% Acidic Vinegar – I got mine HERE.

It works best when you use it on a sunny day and at a time when you know the area you are spraying will get a lot of sun.  When I spray it on unwanted growth I usually see results within 24 hours.  Here are some before and after pictures, taken 24 hours after spraying with 30% acidic vinegar:

atlanta-area-family-photographerEnglish Ivy, nice and green, kind of hated to kill it, but it was getting out of control – 24 hours after spraying:

atlanta-area-family-photographerweeds in the cracks in the driveway:

Atlanta Area Family Photographer_0003 atlanta-area-family-photographer

A few things to know:

• While 30% acidic vinegar is effective, respraying will be needed because the roots aren’t affected by the vinegar.  I find that I need to spray once or twice a month.  Ideally once the weeds are dead you would pull them up by the roots to prevent regrowth.

• You need to protect your skin and eyes while spraying – wearing gloves, protective clothing and eye protection is recommended.  The vinegar is strongly acidic (as the name suggests!) and can definitely burn the eyes and skin.  Avoid inhaling it as well.  Your yard will smell like you’ve been dying easter eggs for a few hours, but the smell fades quickly.

• As mentioned above be sure to spray on a sunny day and avoid windy days.  If the spray blows onto plants you don’t want to kill, it may damage them.

You can read more about this natural weed killing solution HERE.

I hope this information is helpful to you and your family!

If you are looking for an Atlanta Area Family Photographer I would love to talk with you.  Please hit the contact button in the menu bar to get in touch!

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tucker-ga-family-photographerTucker GA Family Photographer

As a Tucker GA Family Photographer one of my favorite types of sessions is a lifestyle session at home.  The reason it’s my favorite is simple:  for the most part kids and posing do not mix.

How can we get great photos without posing?  I’ve found that there are a few keys:

  1.  Let the kids do something they enjoy.  This is easy to pull off at home.  Here we pulled out some paints and these boys hardly noticed they were being photographed:

tucker-ga-family-photographer tucker-ga-family-photographer tucker-ga-family-photographer2.  Don’t stay in one place too long.  After we finished up inside we stopped on the steps outside for a few quick photos.  Dad did a great job cracking these guys up, but we didn’t stay here for long. tucker-ga-family-photographerWe quickly moved on to a game of “jump on mom” out in the yard.  This ended up being mom’s favorite and is now a canvas on her wall! tucker-ga-family-photographer

3.  Let the kids do something they normally enjoy.  A ride in the wagon was perfect!

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tucker-ga-family-photographer

Ultimately we did grab a few posed shots out in the yard.  Posing with kids is hard, but playing makes a photo session easy.  It’s what kids do naturally and it always bring out the best and most natural expressions.  The key to natural smiles is movement!  When you let the kids move and play, it can feel a little chaotic during the shoot but allowing kids to play always leads to great images.

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tucker-ga-family-photographer tucker-ga-family-photographerAnd of course we couldn’t leave out the fur baby:

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If you are looking for a Tucker GA Family Photographer and would like to experience a lifestyle session at your home I would love to talk with you.  Please hit the contact button on the menu bar to get in touch.  I can’t wait to hear from you!  If you would like to see another lifestyle session at home, please click HERE.

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