That mobile phones are gaining ground in photography is something we cannot deny, even in professional photography. But the important thing about storing memories of our kids, is to be able to make the most of the device we have at hand.
For this reason, we have asked for professional advice from Eva Gascón, a professional photographer specialized in capturing the most special moment of life: childbirth.
Q: What differences do we have to take into account when we take photos with a camera as opposed to taking photos using a mobile device?
If we choose the automatic mode, the differences aren’t many, but if we want to take advantage of both devices we will have to pay attention to different sets things.
In the reflex camera, we can choose to select semiautomatic modes to have a bit more control over what we photograph. For example, if our children are moving away or jumping, we will try to freeze the scene with a higher shutter-speed. However, if they are calmer and we’d like to blur backgrounds or naturally illuminate the scene, we would want to prioritize the exposure of the lens.
In this way there are few photographs that can resist the SLR camera, although they require us to put in more thought.
For mobile devices, the resulting photos will depend a lot on the model you have. Photo-centric usability is improving, allowing us to choose the scene mode that we are photographing, or even make manual adjustments. But, undoubtedly, what is still resisting are the photographs of people in motion or scenes with little light.
The discretion of the camera we use can also make a big difference. The disadvantage that is always put to the SLR camera is its weight and volume, but if your children see you constantly with it (in enjoyment mode, not harassing, of course) they will not mind if you point at them with a camera or mobile.
There is also a model of cameras that is constituted by combining the advantages of both devices: mirrorless cameras. They are more compact and lighter than their SLR cousins and come with better features than mobile phones or compact cameras do.
Q. Mobile devices go where we go, which is why we’d like to identify three basic rules when it comes to taking pictures of our children such tools.
A. The first may seem obvious: keep the lens of the camera clean. You cannot imagine the lenses I have had to, in the past, for people who asked me to take a picture of them. You will experience significant improvements in the sharpness of your images.
In addition, since we use mobile phones for a countless number of things, it may be important to carry an additional battery so as to not miss even a single, key moment.
The third bit of advice would be to shoot first, without forgetting to account for the composition of the scene. Move and think about what backgrounds could be better or what angles could capture better photos using available lighting more effectively.
Q. As you may rightly say, children do not stop running or jumping. What we would recommend to ensure that you’re getting good moving pictures with your mobile?
In mobile photography, movement is difficult to freeze and capture, in good quality. However, we may be able to find some “sport” scene modes that will better try to capture objects in continuous motion.
If you have the manual mode option available, try to choose a shutter-speed that’s higher than 125 depending on the light you have available.
If you do not have these options, you will have to rope in your creative faculty and play with formulae such as sweeping (try to move the camera at the same speed as the child at the same time we shoot) or anticipate the movement and shoot to capture movement without freezing, giving the sensation of turning (for example, a fluttering skirt) or of speed (when our children are running races).
Q. When we take pictures of our kids, is it better to take their heights into account, lest we may have to help ourselves with selfie-extenders (for instance) to get other interesting perspectives?
A.With children, it is always recommended to catch up with them if you’re looking to photograph them. This not only brings us closer to the action, but also allows us to feel comfortable because they can keep an eye on what we are trying to do and will not have to look for us “in the distance” to know where we are or if we are looking at them. But, of course, creativity is also based on changing the focus point of view.
We must bear in mind that angles may reflect a feeling or sentiment associated with a photograph, so you can use it to enhance your storytelling or give more power to what is happening at all times.
Q. When we want to capture details, would you recommend using the phone’s zoom? What trick can we use to get what we want without losing quality?
A. The mobile zoom is only recommended when we have no additional options. Actually, when we zoom, we’re zooming in on the same image and, therefore, we naturally tend to lose out on resolution and size metrics.
One option is to purchase a lens kit for the phone. It is an economical option and could help you in situations where you may need to get close to something, or if you need to must capture some specific detail (body parts such as eyelashes, nose …).
But the alternative is to zoom in and out, in other words, to manually work the zoom function. But look at the bright side… it’s sort of workout that’s going to keep you going while you move around the scene of action.
As you can see, these are simple tips that could get us a step further towards unbeatable results when it comes to photos with the family. The truth is, our kids grow up really fast, so don’t miss the opportunity to capture every special moment of your life with them. All the images will remain a part of the best history in the world: your little ones.