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Capturing your kids: mobile photography

Today I am excited to talk about one of my favorite ways to capture my kids: with my phone. Already we’ve discussed the following topics:

Simple Mom | Capturing Your Kids Series

It’s true, mobile photography has taken the world by storm. Not only are the cameras within these phones getting better, the apps in which to process our images are remarkable. With a simple tap of our finger we have the opportunity to capture the big and little moments in our days.

When my first iPhone came into play back in 2009, I was entranced by the simplicity and ease of documenting my kids. Many upgrades later I’m absolutely stunned by not only the quality of the photos but the way I can swiftly shoot our stories from wherever I am. From birthday parties, to family vacations, to eating breakfast together, and all the little moments in between.

How to make the most of your camera phone

Look for the light

Simple Mom | Capturing Your Kids Series

As with any type of photography, light is going to make or break your image. Mobile phones can take surprisingly great photos, but you want to be sure you’re using as much light as possible. Pull open those curtains and turn up the blinds. Let some natural sun pour through as you’re shooting. Even the smallest amount of light will do, whether from an airplane window or TV screen. Keep moving around your kids, watching the way light falls on them and start snapping!


Simple Mom | Capturing Your Kids Series

It’s easy for us to shoot the same type of photo all the time, meaning standing up and tapping the screen to photograph our kids. Try getting down on their level, lay on the floor next to the baby and get in close to fill the frame with her cute, little, face. Then step back and shoot the entire room. Mobile phones give us a wider angle than we might be used to, take advantage of this and ensure the images you’re taking will tell the entire story. Years down the road we may not remember how their bunk beds looked or the way their stuffed animals were lined up.

Zoom with your feet

Simple Mom | Capturing Your Kids Series

Though most mobile phones come with a zoom option, avoid it at all costs. Any zooming at all will lessen the quality of your image. Instead move yourself closer to your kids, if you want a better view.

Filter it

Simple Mom | Capturing Your Kids Series

Snapping the image is half the job, doing a bit of processing to it gives your photos a fun, finished look! There are endless apps on the market for both Apple and Android. I’ll share a few of my personal favorites.

  • Instagram is an app for both Apple and Android that not only has 19 filters (in both black & white and color) but comes with a community bursting with inspiration and friendship. Cost: free
  • Pictapgo is an amazing app (currently for only the Apple market) that allows you to layer your filters, adjust, save favorite recipes, crop, and more. Cost: $1.99
  • VSCO Cam has a very unique feel very akin to film. Available for Apple and just announced: coming soon to Android, it offers some amazing creative controls. Cost: free
  • Adobe Photoshop Express is a must have app, offering simple photo fixes such as red-eye removal, noise reduction, and photo straightener. Cost: free
  • TiltShift Generator is an app available for Apple (though there are similar options for Android) that is lot of fun, enabling you to have the look of a tilt shift lens. Cost: free
  • A Beautiful Mess is a lot of fun to play with. Currently only available through Apple (but plans to launch for Android this fall), you can add fun graphics and text to your mobile photos.  Cost: .99c


Simple Mom | Capturing Your Kids Series

The age of digital snapping is incredible, but we have to think of what we are sacrificing. It’s easy to allow hundreds upon thousands of images to build within the walls of our phones and computers without ever seeing the light of day. Printing them should be priority, even if creating a simple Instagram album through Blurb for the kids to browse through, or ordering a stack of Printstagrams. Having these tangible pieces of our stories to hold is a gift so precious.

Interested in learning more?


Mobile photography is a love of mine like no other, and it’s with that passion that I wrote an e-book on just that! With over 50 pages of inspiration and technical tips, Snap Filter Share was born out of my desire to encourage others to pull out their mobile phones and, shoot!

Snap Filter Share is full to the brim with 125 images – all taken and processed using a mobile phone. I share my favorite filters, apps, and secret recipes for achieving a final look I am proud of, as well as my own personal organization process and just what to do with those photos after all is said and done.

I’m thrilled to offer Snap Filter Share to the Simple Mom community with a special discount code. Enter code: simplemom at checkout to get your copy for only $15.

What do you love most about shooting with your phone?



Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Jenn @ A Simple Haven

    So many great tips! I always wondered why everyone thought iphone photos were so great, because mine never seemed to be. Now I’m convinced it’s a matter of good lighting. And the zoom factor.

    Love what you said about stepping back to let the pic “tell the whole story.”

  2. Katie

    Thanks for this series! I am slowing learning to take better pics of my kiddo. I really like the Picaflor app (Free & for Apple). You can choose a color to highlight in the pic. Looking forward to more of these posts!

  3. Franziska

    Thanks for the great tips. I think I make the mistake to zoom in all the time…. I will definitely pay attention to that from now on 🙂

  4. Kate @Wild Tales of...

    I love these tips–so practical and easy to implement right now. And you’re right, I need to get down to the business of printing some of these photos, and the book idea is a great one.

    I don’t use my phone (much) for shooting photos, but rather my iPod touch, and I love that it’s not so clunky and obtrusive like my regular camera. I also love that I can quickly share with family, friends, and social media.

  5. Android

    thanks for sharing this tips trick… i like this tips

  6. Tanya

    I love my camera phone! I don’t always bring my camera with me places so its nice to be able to capture moments even without it. I will have to lay off the zoom. I didn’t know it made the quality worse. Thanks for the advice.

  7. Geri

    As an artist and iphoneographer I love my phone because it’s always with me, takes great photos and the endless array of apps allows me to turn my photos into painterly images which is my favorite style. I just purchased your e-book and looking forward to reading it.

  8. Shalene

    Love these tips! Thank you!

  9. Emily

    One thing that has made my life easier with an iPhone is finding out that the volume buttons on the side work as a the shutter button! I rarely tap the screen anymore. I find my hand stays stiller when I use the volume buttons.

    It also reminds me to hold the phone horizontally, which seems to give me the best options for cropping the photos to use for Instagram.

  10. Tiare

    Wow! I’ve seen several mobile photography posts, ebooks, etc. But your photography is the first that has actually inspired me to try it. Your work is beautiful! Hopefully me and my outdated iPhone 4 can keep pace.

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