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Top 10 tips for taking spectacular photos using your smartphone

Photos capture memories! Everyone wants to be able to take fabulous photos, right? But what does it take to make those photos so good for use in an yearbook? In our experience taking candid photos works the best to capture the picture perfect memories! Here are some tips that can come in handy as you wear the hat of becoming an official yearbook photographer.


Make sure to clean off your camera!

While this may see like a no-brainer, you would be surprised how easy it is to forget! Make sure to take a quick second to swipe off any dirt, oils, or fingerprints that can easily make its way onto your smartphone's camera.


Learn You Phones Camera Features - And Use Them

This is where it can get a little tricky. What kind of phone are you using? Different brands all have different features. Play with your phone’s camera settings. Find what works best BEFORE you start taking photos in the class. Bonus, this will also save you time and allow you to still pay attention to the class around you.


Consider your background

While you can’t always control the background in your schools, you can take a minute to notice exactly what is directly behind the child you are photographing. Is it your teachers area? A group of children that is not your focus? Is it the classroom storage area? If so, move around the child and try switching angles so the background has minimal clutter and background distractions.


Get down to their level

Try your best to always shoot from the eye level of the children. Are they playing on the floor? Get down to the floor. On the playground? Hold the phone lower. If you’re always taking your pictures from above, all you’re going to get is the tops of heads.


Don’t be afraid to take a lot of pictures

The more pictures you take, the more likely you are to have gotten the “perfect shot.” Or at least a one where all the kiddos are actually looking, since we all know that’s always a problem. Don’t worry about having to go through tens of duplicate photos to find the best shot. Nowadays with advanced technologies, say in the Rethink Yearbooks software, removing duplicates is a 1-click action.


Take a variety of different shots

Once you start to get comfortable with taking pictures of the children, it’s easy to get “stuck” in a certain type of picture. Maybe you do great with group shots. Maybe action shots are more your forte. Parents want to see all types of pictures, so don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone.


Limit the additional lighting

Whenever possible, try to utilize natural light. While your phone and/or camera has a flash, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use it. The flash setting can washout and distort colors, cause red eye, and create unnatural shadows. It’s best to utilize the natural lighting (even if that means the fluorescent overhead lighting that many classrooms have).


Get closer

The ability to zoom in on a camera or smartphone is wonderful, however it can cause distortion. It’s always a better choice to just get closer to your subjects, if possible. If not, try to limit zooming in during the actual picture taking and instead try to rely on cropping and enlarging a picture afterwards.


Try to limit the editing and filters

We all know that this is a different time period. Social media seems to rule so very much. But this isn’t social media. These children don’t even know what that is. These are amazing and wonderful childhood memories that deserve to be remembered in their truest form. So, save the editing for social media and keep the children’s pictures as real as possible. (The one exception to editing would it be if a child did not sign a photo release agreement with your school. In that case you might want to think about editing that particular child out of the background, if you happen to capture them.)


Have fun

Above all, let your children have fun! Don’t try to force the pictures on children or make them do all sorts of poses. Just let them enjoy these moments and try your best to document the memories they are making. Utilize these pictures as reminders of these wonderful times. If the children are truly enjoying themselves, the pictures will speak for themselves.

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