One question I get asked a lot is how I take such beautiful photos of everyday moments. And I’m sure more people have this question, but don’t ask because they assume it’s because I used to be a professional photographer and there is no way they could ever be technically savvy enough to do the same. This, my friend, is absolutely and unequivocally false in every way. Good photography is about knowing the handful of tricks to make moments work for you. And also training your eye to see things a little differently. Anyone can do this. It’s why I created the Documenting the Everyday series and teach hundreds of people how to take better photos with their iPhone. I also teach how to create beautiful family films from your iPhone, but we can talk more about that another time. So today I wanted to share with you how to use angles to take better photos.
Often people will look at the family photos I share here and all within my social media spaces and comment on how beautiful they are, how “fine art” they feel. And it’s all about taking an extra moment or two when documenting your everyday life to “find” the pretty. It’s always there. However, simply picking up your phone and snapping isn’t always going to yield the best results. You simply have to be a little more intentional when documenting moments and telling your everyday story.
Here is one of my favorite examples. Back in Phoenix, there was a gas station in our neighborhood that everyone would stop in at to grab their daily favorites. One evening we attended an event at the kids school and afterward told them we would treat them to lemonades at the corner store. As we were waiting for other kids to finish getting what they wanted, I caught these two sitting at a table together waiting. I pulled my phone from my pocket and simply snapped a quick photo:
And I really didn’t even mean to catch Blair’s eyes closed! Anyway, it’s definitely not a pretty photo. I mean, we are in a gas station so what can you expect?! Using the proper angle… you can expect a lot. I simply took an extra moment to step away from their table a bit, held my phone up so they were straight and center within my view and took another photo:
SUCH a big difference, right?! I did add a touch of color and editing to finish it off and to take away all of the neon blue tones. But goodness gracious, what a difference!
To create those more classic and “fine art” feeling photographs, remember to also keep your phone perpendicular to your subject along with adjusting your angle. The lens on our smartphone cameras is a wide angle one so when you hold them at an angle it can distort your subject.
So despite the fact we were in a gas station, I was able to create a much more pleasing photograph simply by adjusting my approach. I adjusted where I was standing and I also adjusted the angle at which I was holding my iphone. This is now a great photo of a childhood moment between two siblings that I will love looking back on! Here is a side-by-side comparison:
Work to develop that sense of adjustment. When you snap a photo and are not quite pleased with the outcome, try adjusting your angle to see it from a different view and always make sure and hold your phone perpendicular to your subject. You will start to see the difference in what you document and begin loving the outcome and the photographs you collect. Even if they do happen in a gas station. Wink!
How are you learning to take better photos? What questions can I answer for you to help out?