*This post originally appeared on Kidspot
You probably have something in your pocket right now that has the ability to stop time in its tracks and virtually bottle your kids exactly how they are in this moment. So let’s talk about fun ways to capture family memories with your smartphone.
1) Perfect your pics; the first and most obvious thing you can do with your smartphone is take photos. The good news is that phone cameras have come a long way in the past few years and you can get some really quality shots! So why not take some time to learn how? Firstly, clean your lens regularly; baby slobber and sultanas do not make the most appealing filter. The next most important factor is light. Make a note of the areas in your home that have great light and if you’re outside, try to put the sun behind you so you get less glare. If you want to take it to the next level, a quick Google search of the term ‘ phonography’ will find you thousands of tutorials with awesome hints and tips.
2) Get editing; this is where good apps come in. Most phones come with inbuilt editors but my absolute hands down favourite is VSCO Cam, as well as all the normal adjustments, it has the most beautiful filters. Of course there are millions of great photo editing apps, like Camera+ and Afterlight and so long as your original image is good quality, they produce exceptional photos. I also like to pop a time and date stamp on the finished product, using the text option in the Little Moments App.
3) Now let’s talk videos; anyone can make beautiful videos with their phone but the first thing you have to do is just start. Even if your technique isn’t perfect or your house is a mess; just do it, you will get better with every video you take! And one day, twenty years from now, future-you would give anything to have an 11 minute video of your children playing in the garden. So prop your phone up on the back table and press record while you hang out the washing. You can even edit your footage into a little movie right there in your phone!
4) Focus on the details; the beach and park are great places for backdrops but looking back, footage taken in your own home is always going to mean the most. Pictures and videos that tell your story, warts and all. So capture the family car, their messy bedrooms and the tree you planted in the backyard. Also, look for the things that make your heart happy - zoom in on that chubby hand driving its favourite train, capture the look on their face as the sprinkler turns on and most importantly, get in the picture yourself! You are a big part of your family life so don’t be absent from the memories.
5) Make word art; it is so easy to put words on images with apps like Phonto and Little Moments so I love to make images of the lovely and hilarious things my kids say. Sometimes I pop it over a photo of them and sometimes I just put it on a plain background and timestamp it. Now that moment, otherwise forgotten in a dusty diary somewhere, will be right there in my camera roll where there is a huge chance it will be printed out with the rest of my pics or added to a photo book.
6) Create a stop animation of your day; this is basically just thousands of pictures turned into a video. It means you can condense an hour of your life into a one minute video and the finished product is really fun. Just set your phone up in the corner on a windowsill, press the button and capture a whole birthday party, a Christmas morning or the rush to get out the door for the school run. These types of videos really show the kid’s personalities; the phone is also out of the way so they can be totally natural! If you have an iPhone 6 you can use the built in ‘time lapse’ option, but for older models and android phones there are a lot of apps available.
7) Save those masterpieces; every piece of art, every clumsily written story, every merit award is plot point in your child’s life. But we can’t keep them all. There are so many cool apps around that help you capture these memories, AND alleviate that guilty twang you get when popping said memories into the recycling. Artkive is my favourite, you can use it to take pictures of their masterpieces and it will save and archive them. It even gives you the option of creating photo books.
8) Set yourself some challenges; take a picture of the clothes your toddler dresses themselves in every day for fifty days, document your dinners for a month, photograph your kids at exactly 4pm every day wherever they are. Take a family portrait each Sunday, interview your children about their lives once a month, whatever details you want to remember, whatever is important to you, set yourself a challenge and stick with it. You can always turn these memories into a slideshow or a photobook later, as long as you capture them now.
9) There’s a reason they call it a smartphone; it can remind you to do all of these things. Set yourself alarmed reminders to take pictures, make videos, capture quotes, interview your children and then sit back and let your phone boss you around. You can be pretty detailed in your reminders too, include all the interview questions you want to ask or put little motivational prompts in for yourself.
10) Get them off your phone; ironically your phone is the best tool you have to get your memories out of the virtual world and in into your hands. There are websites and apps that help you make photobooks, fridge magnets, canvasses, and prints right from your phone. I love the Origrami app (only available on iPhone) because their printing options are so beautiful. There has seriously never been a better time to turn your digital photos into tangible items to enjoy!