Spring is full of events like graduations, recitals, dances, and more. With many of those things on hold or significantly altered, capturing your own photos is more important than ever! Bre Welch is the creative photographer behind Pepperfox Photo, where she focuses on headshots and branding photography. Her style is fresh, personal, and so much fun to experience…but she doesn’t always use her pro equipment. A mom of two, Bre is also amazing at catching great photos of her life with just her cellphone camera. We talked with her to get her best photography tips for candid photos, making sure that your personal shots capture the best of your family.
Photography Tips for Cellphone Photographers
Tip #1: Timing is your friend, so choose your time of day wisely. Soft light (morning or evening) will help, as will planning around any naps or meals that are especially important to your littles (or your teens, or you, we don’t judge). Pick a time that people are more likely to be happy! If you’re inside, head for a door or window to get some natural light–like this great shot Bre caught of her daughter and her artwork!
Tip #2: Be casual about taking photos. Dress in the cute outfit and go to a pretty place, but don’t try to have the poses be overly staged. Be playful, challenging kids to give their best “Hi!” or see who can tickle their siblings. Verbal cues like “Say Hi!” give more natural facial expressions than “Say Cheese!” and they feel more natural, too. Basically, don’t make this time about taking photos. Make it about having fun, while you happen to be dressed cute.
Tip #3: Get on the same level as your subject. If you’re taking pictures of your kids at play, use those quads and squat down on their level. Bre also recommends changing your general position based on your kids. Rather than asking them to move to the right a bit, move yourself instead. Your kids will stay happier and engaged in what they’re doing, instead of worrying about “performing” for the camera.
Tip #4: Take ALL the photos. Seriously, the joy of digital photography is that you can easily take a ton of shots. Bre recommends a “live setting” if your phone has one, letting you move back through and catch just the right moment. Shoot like crazy and go back to review later, not while your subjects are waiting on you.
Tip #5: Make it personal. Especially for teens who are graduating or dressed up for a special occasion like prom. Ask them where they’d like to go to take photos. Celebrate the things that make them unique. Joke with them, have fun, and let the photos take the back seat to your interactions with them.
Tip #6: Getting a “serious” face is tricky. Bre’s method is to have her subjects look down, breathe through their nose, then look up with just their eyes. You can also get a very different expression when you change the tone of your conversation. A bright, cheery “Hi!” will come with a brighter smile, while a casual “Ok” brings a more serious or thoughtful face.
Tip #7: Filters are your friend. Getting perfect light without pro equipment is hard, but filters and add a lot to photos taken with your cellphone. Bre loves the Tezza app ($20/year) for its beautiful presets and user-friendly editing tools. If you’re an Adobe user, they have several apps for mobile devices that allow you to edit as well. For a free option, the VSCO app is also very popular.
Tip #8: Don’t filter out the messy stuff. Bumps, bruises, stains on their shirts, save it all. Same goes for emotions–if you get some messy feelings, capture those for later, too! They make for some of the funniest photos to look back on.
These are crazy times, but you’re going to want to remember them! Don’t let your quarantine hair (we’re all there, guys) stop you from jumping in some pictures yourself or snapping a selfie with your quarantine buddies. Bre’s tagline is “I see you, I know you, I love you” which is a great motto for approaching taking photos of your own family. And if you need professional headshots, make sure you check out Bre’s amazing work at Pepperfox Photo.
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