I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

How to Take Frame-Worthy Photos With Your Phone

Hello dear friends! If you read my last post about our little trip to San Diego, then you’ll know this post was coming up. If you missed it, that’s okay! Go ahead and take a look. I shall wait…:)


Annnnnnnnd we’re back! So, as you know, I did not bring my huge Canon camera to our trip to California. I had brought it on our last trip to Jamaica, to California in 2015, and even to Mexico for our anniversary. It was such a burden on our trips. Besides being heavy and bulky in our luggage (I kept it in my purse because I was paranoid about it breaking), I would worry about carrying it around everywhere we went. What if it broke? What if it gets wet? Why oh why are they so stinkin’ heavy?!

For this trip, I decided to do it differently; I would only use my camera for photos. I’ll be honest, I was a little terrified. But then I remembered that I’m a photographer – I know the skills needed for a good photo and I could transfer that when using a phone! (Silly me.) After being so pleased with the photos from our trip to San Diego I thought to myself that everyone could take great photos with their phone! All they needed was a few simple (and hopefully helpful!) tips. (I promise, these are literally the 4 things I do when taking photos with my phone – it doesn’t have to be crazy and complex.)

1. Frame your photo.

Although it’s easy to just quick stop, snap a photo (half the time while still walking), try to stop and really see the photo before snapping away. Look at the photo as a full scene. If you’re taking a photo of a beautiful tree don’t cut off it’s elaborate, windy, twisted trunk. Get the full picture. If there’s a building that has you by the heart, take a few steps back to get all the intricate details in the frame of your photo. If there’s a beautiful field of wildflowers, get down on its level for the photo. Not every photo has to be taken at eye level. Be creative – you can always take more. :)  (Can you imagine shooting film again?!)

2. Expose and focus.

It might not be the same depending on which phone you use, but with my Android I can simply tap on the object or person I’m trying to photograph and my camera will automatically properly expose and focus my photo. By tapping on something specific, it will adjust its settings the best it can and for the most part, expose and focus the photo properly. Be aware that if you’re shooting facing the sun, it might be harder for your camera to focus on the subject (which in my case will be Rusty for the rest of this post, it’s easier :)). Just keep trying to tap and even try hiding some of the sunlight with your hand so your camera can get a better grasp on Rusty’s adorable, fluffy face.

3. Use natural light.

This is not always the case when you’re out and about, however, if you can help it, try not to use a flash. If it’s during the day and you’re outside under harsh afternoon light, find a shady spot to snap a photo. If there’s no shade to be found (it happens, even at weddings) simply have the sun be behind Rusty. Even if it’s 1PM, there’s still a tiny tilt to the sun and it can be behind your subject. Not only will Rusty’s little eyes thank you for not having the sun right in his face, but your photo will have a bit of a glow. (That photo of Paul and his ice-cream? That was taken mid-day with zero shade around. I stood facing the sun and Paul had his back to it. Easy peezy.)

If you’re taking a photograph at sunset (best. time. ever.), the sun can be behind him (dreamy, dreamy lighting) and if late enough, can even be in front of him. If you’re inside, find a window or a doorway – having Rusty face the window or wherever the light is coming in. If you’re inside and it’s dark and there’s zilch lighting around, then clearly now is the time to use a flash. But even if there’s a lamp, use that first. Flashes that are pointed directly at someone is a. blinding and b. quite harsh.

4. Use a simple photo editor for minor enhancements.

I use VSCO Cam for my editing program and it. is. so. easy. It’s a downloadable app and I just import the photos I want to edit, edit them, and save! Easy peezy! Although I don’t use the filters, you can certainly use them! They have a great variety of matte and light, and bright and colorful. However, I manually edit each photo and literally friends, it takes about 10 seconds. It’s nothing over the top, nothing too fancy, but it just makes me sad that sometimes the color I see with my eyes isn’t quite there in the photo. So I give it a little boost.

And that’s it! Try one or two (or even all 4 if you’re feeling adventurous!) of these tips the next time you pull out your phone. I’ll be honest with you, I’m so stinkin’ excited that I don’t have to bring my camera to DISNEYWORLD next year. It was a bear to bring to Disneyland last year and so this will be absolutely lov-a-ly.

Anyways! I hope this post was helpful, friends!! You deserve to have beautiful photos of your family and adventures hanging proudly on your wall. Cameras on phones are made so well now, it’s time to take advantage of them. :) Enjoy!! xoxoxo

  1. StirFrei says:

    Hi Nikki!

  2. mom says:

    ooohhhh, thank you. :)