Top 10 Tips for Taking Better iPhone or Android Photos

mom taking a photo of her husband and newborn baby

This month, I’ve been sharing my favorite photo tips for taking better photos at the playgroundpark and beach.

The playground and park photos I’ve shared this month were DSLR photos, and my beach photos were taken on my iPhone. I know for many of you, your iphone is the camera you use most and that is totally ok! This week I am sharing more iPhone photos.

Some of these tips will be familiar from previous blog posts… most of my tips can be applied to any situation and are not specific to a particular type of camera.

My goal, as always, is to motivate and inspire you to look for moments, angles, light, emotions and situations you might not otherwise think to capture in this way.

1. Look for Window Light

Jack was just one month old in this photo where I took advantage of some beautiful, soft, diffuse light coming in from a nearby window.

You don’t want your subject in direct sunlight if you can avoid it, because of the harsh shadows. But most times of the day, a window can provide you with indirect light.

2. Look for Unusual or Dramatic Shadows

Balloons are fascinating for kids and can be great in photos, especially when they cast an unusual or dramatic shadow.

I love this moment walking home from a birthday party. Don’t be afraid to try a few takes to get it just right.

3. Use Early Morning Light to Backlight

At just the right angle, you can capture some great “lens flare” especially early morning or in the late afternoon, both great times for photography in general as the sun is lower and less harsh.

4. Capture Natural Expressions and Interactions

Sibling photos can be impossible at a young age—I found it very hard to get my kids to sit still and look at the camera, but when they were engrossed with making each other giggle and laugh, I was able to capture priceless moments of interaction that showcase their relationship more than any posed photo would.

Here Liam is three, and Jack is around eight months old.

5. Get Your Subject Way Way Off Center

I always encourage off-center compositions that are more interesting and dynamic. With the iPhone it’s easy to get your subject WAY off center and simply tap to focus.

This is one of my favorite way off center photos that captured the flooded playground and urban environment and my tiny little boy on his scooter.

6. Even the Mundane Can Provide a Photo Opportunity

Nothing like a Saturday morning run to Lowes for a photo opportunity! Moments worth capturing are everywhere.

I love how serious they both look (and notice how I got down at their level for this photo).

7. Capture the Really Special Moments

This photo is from Jack’s first day at the preschool that Liam went to for two and a half years. The way Liam took his little brother’s hand and leads him up the stairs absolutely made my heart melt and I was so happy to capture it.

8. Try Panning

“Panning” is when your subject is in motion and your camera moves with them so that they are in focus and the background is blurred. And yes, with a little practice and trial and error, you can do this on your iPhone! Actually, because it’s easier to move with, I find it easier to pan on my iPhone.

9. Get in the Photo

Of course the iPhone is PERFECT for getting in the photo yourself. I use the forward-facing camera to take photos of myself with my kids all the time. Yes, they tend to be more posed, but my kids’ reactions to seeing themselves on the screen usually creates hilarity that results in natural expressions anyway.

Here Liam was so excited to ride on the bus last summer!

10. Embrace the grain

Generally, no matter what camera you are using, and unless you really know what you’re doing with flash or other artificial lighting, you’ll get better results with natural light.


But life doesn’t only happen in natural light. This photo was taken at 6 am when it was still dark out! As a result of the low light, the photo is very grainy, but I wouldn’t have missed capturing this moment for the world.

Want more photo tips you can start putting into practice right away?  View my free video lesson.

Alethea author

Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick is a family photographer and photography coach for parents with Photosanity. A former architect and interior designer, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her two boys Liam, age six, and Jack, age three.

Alethea is on a mission to help parents more fully experience the precious fleeting moments of their children’s lives through photography. Find her on http://photosanity.com