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12 December . 2018

Take great cell phone pics of the grandkids with these tips from Elyson’s Ashlie Cook

Elyson resident Ashlie Cook is a successful photographer with some of the best professional equipment available. As a busy mother of three, she understands that most of us, including the grandparents out there, take everyday photos with our cell phones.

While cell phone cameras keep getting better, they’re only as good as the person taking the photos. With these easy tips from Ashlie, you can greatly improve your photos of the grandkids.

Clean off the camera. “I know that sounds silly, but we rarely do it,” Ashlie says. 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 halo effect. Be sure to wipe off both cameras (front and back) depending on how you’re using the phone.

Get close to a window. You want your subject to face the window so that the light falls evenly over their face, Ashlie advises. For a more artistic or 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, it’s best to avoid this angle.

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, which doesn’t allow for sharp, clear images.

Shoot at eye level. Shoot at eye level, or even slightly higher, than the subject for a more flattering effect, Ashlie recommends. Never shoot lower than the subject, or up the nose. When you shoot from a higher angle, looking down on the subject, it has a slimming effect, and also allows the light to hit the face in a more flattering manner.

When shooting outdoors, find shade. If shade is not an option, be sure to shoot from a higher angle, looking down the subject. Avoid shooting toward the sun, or having your subject looking at the sun, to avoid squinting. If they can raise their chins slightly, it will cut back on the shadow around their eyes.

Moving subjects. “Taking photos of kids with your cell is difficult, especially if they’re squirmy and move a lot like mine,” Ashlie says. The best approach 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. With iPhones, the portrait mode tends to be slower, so it can be more difficult to get a clear image in that mode if your subject moves a lot.

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,” she says. While we all want to look our best, we want to look like us, not like a mannequin. Try to adjust the brightness a bit higher and slight color adjustments before you over-edit the skin.

With these tips in hand, you’re now ready to enjoy and capture all kinds of adventures with the grandkids.