5 tips for better phone photos of your kids

I am incredibly excited to share the very first guest blog on my website, written by Cat Timms. Cat is the talented woman behind Cat Timms Photography  and the mastermind behind the beautiful family photos shared in this blog. She is a former teacher turned tog and mum of 2 based in Perth. Check out more of her work on Instagram and Facebook, plus head to Cat's website to read the blog post I wrote on my favourite things about ring slings and see my entire photo gallery from our recent shoot with her.  



Soooo, hi, I’m Cat, and I look at photos and videos of my kids at night once they’re asleep… anyone else?! Raise a hand please! Oh and the puppy, pretty sure half my phone is videos of the puppy, haha! 

While it’s important to get in the frame with your kids and have professional photos taken of you all every now and again, I totally get that we can’t do that as much as we’d like. 

You don’t need the newest iPhone to take great photos of the kids; just mastering what you have will improve your Instagram feed, I promise! 

We all like to capture the kiddos and our daily life, and I want you to have the best snaps you can, so ta da, here are 5 tips for taking better phone pics of your adorable little people!

Young toddler worn by her mother in a Girasol "Always" ring sling by the river1. It's all about light, light, light!  

Ok so location is important too, but it’s the natural light that really matters. Flash is off, always, except in full night time which is generally not when you’re taking pics of the kids.

Particularly when you’re inside, always have the light coming behind or beside the camera. If the light is behind the kids, they’ll be in shadow. If they’re in dappled light, move them into full shade.

At sunrise and sunset we can break this rule, like we did for Alyce’s full family sesh! You can worry less about the light then because it’s coming in lower (rather than midday sun high above for example).

In this photo from our session, the light is coming from behind Alyce, but is soft, and I’ve lifted the shadows in editing.


2. Check the surrounds.

Once you’ve got them in some half decent light, check that they’re not in front of the washing rack with dads jocks behind them, or an ugly bit of fencing. Consider negative space, which means the space around the main subject. Use your background as a secondary subject (the primary subject is the kiddos!). This is why photographers do outdoor photo sessions in beautiful locations. 

At Alyce’s session, this photo shows the river and sky as a secondary subject beautifully while still focused on the people as the primary subject. The light is coming from behind me and to the right. 

Alyce Mostert and her 2 daughters standing knee deep in the river
3. Change the angle!
Get down on the ground completely, or get right above them. Lower or raise your phone or your whole body if you can. This makes for more interesting photos than just held out in front of your chest and snapped! 

These 2 photos show a down low in front angle, and way up above, too.
The Cloth and Carry family: Travis and Alyce Mostert sitting on a picnic blanket beside the river with their 4 childrenThe Cloth and Carry children
4. Give them a job!

Cheese face is the worst. The reason photographers will get you a gallery full of natural smiles (and most of us will never tell kids to “smile!”) is because we give them something else to do, or think about! Tell them your best dad joke, ask them to tickle or look at each other, or suggest they jump and then freeze. I can run a whole photo session as games and activities so even the quickest kiddo never gets bored! 

Family fun in the river

5. Experiment with settings

Once you’ve mastered these things, have a play with your phone's settings. Try different photo modes including HDR mode. Tapping your screen to focus on different things in the frame, using lots of negative space, and try playing around with fun objects like trees and toys in the frame to create more interest. And of course, try editing! Not just with filters, use your photo editing app (just the one that comes with your phone is fine!) and play with exposure, contrast, shadow, highlights and so on. The best way to learn this and figure out what you like is just to play with them.

Black and white photo of Pippa and Esmae Mostert


I hope those tips are helpful. It goes without saying to have fun with the kids too. If you’re using a  DSLR camera in Perth and you’d like a lesson, I offer those too, to help mums get off auto settings and use their camera in manual mode. Just email me.

Remember to book in with your favourite local photog soon (we all run Mini sessions that won’t break the budget!) to get in the frame with your kids as much as you can. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Lots of love and beautiful memories captured,
Cat x



Thank you so much to Cat for sharing those amazing tips, and for taking the stunning photos featured throughout the blog. Obviously they weren't taken on a phone, but they do highlight all the points mentioned and give you some inspiration for capturing your own stunning photos of your family.

Want to know more about Cat? Check out her website and her photography packages! You can also see the full gallery of photos from my family's photoshoot with her and read the guest blog I wrote on her website: 6 Reasons To Love Ring Slings.

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