I-Phone & Android Tips for Taking Better Pictures

How to get clearer photos using your I-Phone
The biggest mistakes I see people make when it comes to taking pics with their I-Phones is just a matter of sloppy handling. Are your pictures fuzzy? Foggy or Hazy? How do you fix that?

1. When shooting, hold your camera as still as you can. Especially when it’s a bit dark inside or outside. Your camera is designed to slow its shutter speed in low-light scenarios which means you gotta hold REALLY still to get a clean shot. So practice bracing your elbows to your sides while hold the camera up. Or, find a solid surface that works almost as good as a tripod. This will support the camera and hold it still much better.

2. Speaking of low light, the best way to get a clear shot is to light your subject properly. Place your subject closer to a window with them facing the window, or shoot outside in full shade. Just getting good light on the subject alone, will help the camera itself perform better.

3. It may seem silly, but WIPE YOUR LENS! LOL. I can't tell you the number of times I've offered to help someone get a family shot on some travel adventure, and I look at the back of their phone at the actual lens. It's filthy! A simple trick, but an effective one, and one we don't think about all the time- simply wiping off your lens will make your pics clearer. After all, we store that thing in our purses, and God knows what kid-size drama made it into my bag this week! ((eye roll))

Let me know if these tips have helped you! Give me a tag in your posts!

If you know someone who would love this would you share the link on their page? Keep capturing your memories, let’s make them look amazing as well!

daddy kissing his little boy, such a cute family picture mom will always remember

The Sandefur Family & their dreamy field session

We Created a Dream

written by Zoe Sandefur
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Most love stories start when we’re all a little more mature, after we’ve experienced most heart ache and adventures. But for my husband and myself, it started at the young age of 16. It was in the first few weeks of school, I just started sophomore year. I was sitting in computer class typing away when the door opened, I sat right across from the door so I had perfect view, the teacher stood up and introduced our new senior classmate joining the class. Instantly my heart glowed, my eyes shimmered. There was no doubt it was love at first site. And that is where our journey began!

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We were pretty much married from day one. We did everything together, nothing ever felt wrong between us. We were young, but it never felt like puppy love. We feel like our souls have always been together. Even though we spent the first 16 years apart, we felt connected in a much deeper way. He warned me that he was joining the Marine Corps and didn’t want to hurt me, I didn’t care. I took the risk. It was hard being so young and saying goodbye to your boyfriend, but I knew it was worth it. He proposed to me when I was 18 years old, we got married the day after I graduated high school. Most people doubted us, and I don’t blame them, I was 19 years old and saying I do! It’s not very common these days. But I knew we were about to start something amazing.


Jason was stationed out in Japan, that was hard on us, but we got through it with no issues. Sure I had plenty of nights with a box of tissues and a handful of pictures, but you make sacrifices for the people you love. Then even bigger heart-breaking news was tossed in my hands, he was being deployed to Afghanistan. My heart broke. I was scared. But again, I had faith everything would be ok. I moved myself out to California not knowing what I was getting myself into. I never left home before so it was very new to me. I waited, everyday to hear my husbands voice. Praying he was ok! Then, it was time for him to come home!! With Japan and Afghanistan back to back, we spent 2 years apart. It was finally time to start our life together. He was home! In my arms safe! I can’t even begin to explain that feeling.

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While he was away I got us our first apartment. I furnished it and made it feel like home, so my husband had a safe place to come home too. It was perfect! 1 year later we found out I was pregnant! We were so happy, even better news, it was a girl!! We named her Maura! We decided the military life wasn’t how we wanted to raise our children. So, he made the decision to get out. We said goodbye to California and moved back to IL. He found an amazing job at the airport and we began to grow our future life!


We couldn’t have been happier. Jason had an amazing job, I was a stay at home mom. Our daughter couldn’t be sweeter.

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We had everything we ever wanted or needed. Our lives revolve around building our dream family. Four years down the line we found out I was pregnant with baby number 2! It was a BOY!!



We were so excited, Maura couldn’t have been happier to become a big sister! We named him Jackson. We went through so much heartache and tears to finally have this perfect little family! My daughter is smart, funny, and kind hearted. My son is happy, full of laughter and makes our hearts glow.

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When I look at my husband, I’m in awe. I sometimes catch myself asking myself if I’m dreaming. I look back to all the troubles we went through to get here. I realize that marriage is something you both need to work at to make work. We both have changed so much in the last 10 years. But we adapted to every change. Which is hard at some points, but if you love someone you find a way to make it easy. Our souls are on a different level then most couples these days. He’s an amazing father, husband and leader. Our story is still just in the beginning, and I can’t wait to see where this road takes us.

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The Putnam Family//Geneseo Prarie Park//Quad Cities Family Photographer

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.” That saying fully explains how everyone should live their life. And now, it is our family motto. We take every day and make it the best it can be. I miss nothing."

-Melanie Putnam; her life, her family; their motto
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"As cliche as it may sound, Jay is truly the light of my life. My soulmate and my best friend. We met and started dating when I was 17, working at the same grocery store. He was 3 ½ years older and a college student. It was truly love at first sight. We were married young at 20 and 24 in 2003.

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We loved the idea of having a big family! We had Jayden right away in 2005 and he was the light of our life. Absolutely adorable and exactly what we had been asking God for. He looks so much like Jay with a tender and loving personality since Day 1.


In 2007, we became pregnant with our spunky little “shrimp”, Josiah. Halfway through my pregnancy, we found out that I had a fatal and rare lung disease that would not only take my life early, but would would mean no more children. Sadly, I am not sure which of those things made me sadder! I remember sitting in the hospital room getting the diagnosis thinking more of the fact that I could not have any more children. In May of 2008, Josiah was born at 28 weeks. He was just this miniature little human who was perfect and beautiful in every way. He lived in the hospital for the first 3 months due to his prematurity but has been healthy and thriving in every way since then!!


Jay was incredible. He supported me in every way. He made me still feel beautiful even though I had tubes in my nose 24-7 and couldn’t take the greatest care of myself. He did everything for me. His faithfulness and love for me never failed even once. He is truly what every husband should aspire to be. This time waiting for my lungs was terrifying. Every day seemed impossible. My kids were home staying with friends and family, and my committed hubby was on a cot in my hospital room with me taking care of me every single day. Finally, my gift of a second chance at this life came, and I have been running ever since.

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Jayden is now 12. He is generous and loving. He is very empathetic and sensitive to other people and their feelings, and I truly believe with my whole heart that his kindness comes from how much he cared for me and worried about me at such a young age. He is so well rounded. He is good at sports, especially his favorite sport which is baseball. He is very smart in school and has always impressed us with excellent grades. He loves church and loves volunteering there and teaching young kids about God. He is a great friend to everyone, and I love seeing how he treats everyone with respect and love. He still kisses me, even in front of his friends. He tells the worst jokes ever, and they are only funny because they don’t make any sense. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him! He is who he is, and he is everything we could ever have wanted him to be.

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Josiah is 9. He is a spunky little spitfire!! Always making up silly jokes and sayings. He makes up actions to every song, and he wants to be a rapper! He has several Christian rap artists who he listens to and idolizes, and he is great at rapping their music. My favorite part of Josiah is his dedication to things. He puts forth every ounce of effort in his body to sports. He wants to be a MLB player when he grows up. I love that he is generally the tiniest kid on every sports team, but he works to hard and puts so much effort into everything he does, and it shows!!! He knocks our socks off when he is playing baseball. Size truly doesn’t matter with him. I love watching his pitch and play in general. Josiah is very sensitive and a loving friend. He is the kind of kid that isn’t afraid to walk up to a person who doesn’t have a friend nearby and befriend them. He has a huge heart underneath his cool sports guy persona. Josiah is also very smart in school, and has been able to read chapter books since first grade. We love him and his funny ways so much! He was such a gift from God because he was our last chance to have a child!

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Sometimes I don’t know how it is possible that after being together for 17 years and married for 14, that Jay and I still love each other how we do. We never get tired of each other. We are never bored. We have so many dumb jokes we tell each other and we just get it. We are very attracted to each other still, even after how the years have added some extra weight to our bodies and wrinkles to our eyes.


Our favorite time of day is bedtime because we are huge cuddlers. We spend that cuddling time catching up on the day and laughing together. This time is priceless.

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My lungs have given me extra time to be with my amazing family. I am not sure how much longer I will have because life expectancy is short for people in my shoes. But I don’t let that dictate how I do things! I live everyday as if it is my last. I enjoy every breath and every kiss and hug that I get from these 3 people who are my everything. My favorite saying is, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.” That saying fully explains how everyone should live their life. And now, it is our family motto. We take every day and make it the best it can be. I miss nothing. We do so much together, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world. We are so blessed for each other. Family truly is one of God’s greatest gifts." - The Putnam Family written by Melanie

As I read through this journal entry for my blog I found myself really choking back tears (not all of them were held back). I am challenged to not take every moment for granted, every hug, every cuddle, every kiss. What a powerful story of faith, overcoming, and love. I am blessed beyond measure to have the loved ones that I have, to know this incredible family. I am blown away with their story told in these photos....a photo says a thousand words, and yours truly tell the story of what family truly means. Thank you for allowing me to capture these precious memories. Many more to come.

(please click HD to enjoy your slideshow; pictures still fuzzy? You clicked HD too soon try again!)