3 Tips to Flattering Phone Photos on Vacation with your Family

Ever wonder how everyone else has flattering phone photos on Instagram? No worries, I’ll walk you through a few tips that I use.

So you’ve planned a beautiful family vacation, 2 plus years in the making for many, only to get home and realize that there are only a handful of photos that you would actually show to anyone. This is never a fun feeling. I mean aren’t phone cameras the best? Here’s a secret, it isn’t about the camera it’s about know how to use it. You could have the most cutting edge phone camera there is and still come out with crap photos. As much as I would love for you to hire me to come along on your adventures and photograph all your beautiful moments, that clearly isn’t feasible; So I am sharing 5 tips to creating flattering images on your next vacation.

1) Always photograph from above for the best flattering phone photos!

Let’s review these 2 photos, one from eye-level  and one from slightly above. I would have still changed the position of my legs to having them both crossed and extended, as well as put my weight on my front hip… but c’est la vie. I was trying to be quick, which sometimes happens when traveling.

In the left photo, you see that it is taken slightly above me, my friend made the mistake of cropping my legs off, but otherwise it looks a bit more flattering while still showing off the beautiful alley way behind me in Old City Dubrovnik.

On the right, it is taken from straight on, which tends to make me look more square and like I am taking up the whole walkway, that isn’t what anyone wants to see.

This tip is also very important for taking selfies especially. Always take photos from slightly above for the most flattering phone photos, which you can see in the examples below:)





2) Keep even lighting on your face

As you can see there are 2 different types of even lighting on my face. On the left you will see that my face is shaded with the sun behind my head. Because of the time of day, and the sun not being high and hot it worked out really well. Most phone photos now know how to expose for both your face and the background as long as the difference isn’t too extreme. If I had been in the shade, the photo would have looked horrible and dark. The photo on the right has my face in full sun, as you can see I added my sunglasses so that I don’t have that squint that causes the dreaded lines.

Again I am not in the shade at all and the background is also in nearly fun sun. The problem occurs mostly when the subject is in the shade and the background is in full sun or the subject is in full sun and the background is super shaded.

HINT: I sometimes love selfies even better because I can control where the light is hitting my face, plus when there is a huge crowd selfies make it seem you’re the only one there:)




3) Position your body 45 degrees from the camera and one knee bent.

First let me say that these aren’t perfect photos, I would definitely brighten them on my editing app before printing, but in terms of body position they are very flattering phone photos. If you notice that in both of these photos my heart is turned just slightly away from the camera. Why do I do this? Because I have very wide hips and turning it slightly slims be down. Now if you happen to have a bit of extra cushion in the front rather than the side, then a more straight on look might be better, but usually a slight angle is best:)

Now check out my legs. I have fairly think thighs, although you can’t tell in a dress (HINT: that’s why I wore the dress), but by putting a bend in my knee my pose looks far more flattering. Another option is putting your toes together, pointing them in the same direction as your heart and then popping your front knee, which will also lean you towards the camera slightly making any chin issues look slimmer.

Hands: Bonus tip, don’t just hang your arms at your sides. Place the back one on your hip and the front one on your thigh or hold something interesting. You can also place both hands on your hips, like I did in the photo on the right. In the photo on the left I am holding my camera in front, which is also a great way to hid any bumps or cushions you may not want to show.




All of these tips are things I used every day in my photography sessions with my clients. They are harder to perfect by yourself, but don’t be afraid to start trying out a few of these tips. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via our contact page here.

I am happy to critique any photos especially if your a woman entrepreneur who is trying to get in front of the camera more:)


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I am so happy that you're here! My name is Crystal Summer Bear, I am an avid traveler, solopreneur and boutique portrait and wedding photographer. 
I love to share tips, tricks and beautiful stories that connect us all. 
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