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We're so excited to haveNichole LuptonfromNichole Louise Photographyjoining us as the next guest blogger in our newAsk the Photographerseries! With this new blog series, we hope to provide you with some expert tips for getting the most out of your family photos and capturing your children's precious memories. If you have a question you'd like to have answered by our panel of professional photographers, please send it tophotos@smockedauctions.com!

Inever have a camera with me, but I always have my phone. What can I dotoget the most out of my phone camera photos?
Welcome to 2012 where you never leave home without your cell phone, it does everything short of make dinner, and despite all of its many talents, you rarely use it to actually call someone. The advent of the smart phone has revolutionized many things but nothing more so than how we take pictures. While I'm sure many people have nice cameras high end point and shoots, DSLRs, etc, the reality of life is, we just don't have them with us all the time. And you can bet your kids will do the CUTEST things the second you put your super nice camera away. Enter the smart phone camera. Admit it, it is almost always with you. If you're anything like me, it pretty much manages your life too. And as I'm sure you are aware, a smart phone camera isn't you're flip phone camera circa 2007. No no, this thing is an 8 mexapixel, HDR wielding BEAST. No I'm not going to rant on and on about how it can replace your nicer cameras (or why you shouldn't still be hiring a professional!), but I am going to tell you that on a day to day basis, it can be an AMAZING tool.
Cute, right? Again, I'm going to be totally honest. This shot took 764 attempts, and I'll be the first one to tell you its not perfect. My boys, darling as they may be, think my incessant picture taking is wildly over rated. The point of showing it is that a somewhat decent picture IS possible from a cell phone camera. The biggest tip to remember make sure you have enough LIGHT! Now, you don't want sunshine going into those sweet little faces. That will make for half closed eyes and a lot of sass, but don't try and pretend your kids bedroom closet has phenomenal light. But if you can get enough light, get near a window, open a door etc, you can turn that annoying flash off and get a super cute shot. Will you get a bunch that look like this?
Absolutely. But it's cool. This isn't film, you're not paying 32 cents an image here to have them 1 hour developed.
My next big tip stop it with the mommy angle. You are 5'3 (give or take), and they are 2'8. Everyone knows you're taller than them, you're pictures don't need to show it too. Get down on their level. This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of my youngest from the holiday season, and guess where I was...
Laying on the floor. And I'm not just laying on the floor, but the phone balanced against the floor to get low enough. This picture you may also notice, is not taken with the standard phone on the camera. This is from the ever-so-popular Instagram. Now, I'll tell you right now, I do not entirely understand Instagram, or the fad surrounding it. I'm ok with being uncool though, I accepted it years ago ;) What I do know about Instagram, it is super fun. It has lots of fun filters and is painfully easy to use. Fun + easy = I'm all over it. To sweeten the deal its free. I LOVE free! Moving right along.
Why on earth am I showing you this kind of dark, and kind of grainy picture, clearly taken from a mom angle you ask? Because it's a cute moment. In the quest to have the perfect documentation of our childrens lives, we all too often forget to just capture the moments. This is my sweet younger son, demanding a cheese stick with all the might he's got since he is not yet blessed in the verbal skill department (something I am ok with, having a 4 year old in the house who gets the job done for all of us). I am unlikely to bust out my DSLR to get a picture of that chubby finger pointing at cheese, but you can bet I've got 4 copies of it in my phone. Other moments worth capturing?
Vacation. Or in my house, Tuesday, since we live at the beach :) Can I tell you where my kids are in this shot? Kinda. They're one of those tiny dots. But its the whole landscape that captures the memory. Yet another moment when I don't have my camera with me, something about a DSLR on the beach, with two sandy kids just screams disaster waiting to happen. But in ten years, when they go to the beach with friends because they have finally realized how un-cool I am, I will be glad for this memory. I also enjoy sending these memories to land locked friends to convince them to come visit us.
Another way to get great and unique photos think outside the box. This was one (very) brave afternoon where I decided to let both of my boys paint. It began as a Pinterest project, and ended as a mess, but fun was had by all. Again, do I have two dozen mom shots? Of course, it comes with the territory, but I also wanted to get some mommy blog worthy shots. It just takes two extra seconds to think before you snap. And think about the fun stuff baby toes, fingers, paint splatters, etc. Not to sound like a total Hallmark card but this is the stuff memories are made of.I also had to get at least one good landscape shot. We had abnormally blue skies that week, the weatherman said something about Caribbean winds... it did make me want a vacation, that's for sure, but it also made me want to remember it.
Its also nice to remember that two boys isn't always a full on wrestling match. :) And then there are those fashionable moments you may not be otherwise prepared for. I mean, what are you supposed to do when your 4 year old walks up to you in a bike helmet with the most perfectly draped scarf you've ever seen (and despite the time spent in front of the mirror trying to replicate the perfection on yourself you just can't). The ease of a cell phone picture is just something you can't pass up on the phone. A swipe of the finger and one touch BAM picture. And we all know you're phone was already in your hand checking facebook. ;)
Its also nice to have a camera that's not horrible that you have with you all.of.the.time. I mean, maybe you'll pull out your nice camera for the first day of Kindergarten, but the third first day of summer camp? Not so much. But low and behold, my phone was in hand and ready for the task.
In closing just have FUN! Remember to put your big camera down once in a while. Be present in your children's lives. It's really no fun to 'capture the memory' if the whole darn memory is staged for the perfect picture. It is ok to live the memory once in a while and just let your phone do the rest! Don't get stressed when things don't work out, or the pictures are a hot mess. Just try again later!

Nichole Lupton is the owner and sole photographer at Nichole Louise Photography. She is based out of Wilmington, NC, where she resides with her husband (who hates the camera), and two kids, Finnegan and Atticus. Sometime after her second baby was born she developed a love of rompers and smocked outfits for her youngest son, and happened across Smocked Auctions via the wonder that is Facebook. She has amassed a collection of rompers so large she would prefer not disclose how many there are, out of fear her PayPal account will get shut down for overuse.
Since we made Nichole post about camera phone photos, we thought we'd include a little eye candy here at the bottom. Check out what Nichole can do with a REAL camera! :)

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