Better Point and Shoot Pictures

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Has anyone ever said to you, “Your camera takes great pictures!”? Folks may have the tendency to believe that the camera makes the photo, but that is entirely not true. Any kind of camera, in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing, can take a great photograph. This applies to film SLR’s, digital SLR’s, and point-and-shoot cameras alike. So don’t be intimidated or feel that your skills have less significance if you don’t have the latest and greatest in photographic technology – it could be that your little point-and-shoot camera has higher megapixels and a greater zoom range than your friend’s DSLR! If you prefer a compact point-and-shoot to a bulkier SLR, the importance still lies with the image that you wish to capture, and how you go about doing so. Here are some tips on taking better point-and-shoot photographs.

One – Learn your camera. Technology in today’s P&S cameras have improved by leaps and bounds over the old Kodaks of yesteryear. You could find that your compact camera has almost as much flexibility and functionality as many D-SLR’s. So, though many tend to stick with automated features, you may want to take the time to learn to manipulate such manual settings as ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Read the manual, play with settings, experiment, and practice. By doing so you can get the absolute most out of the range of capabilities that your model offers.

Two – Control the flash. It is practically guaranteed that your P&S model has the ability to turn the flash on and off. Learn to use ambient light and fill light for your photographs, to avoid that overexposed “snapshot” look created by many point-and-shooters. In tandem with this, using the flash in daylight/outdoor/brightly lit situations can help to balance the range of contrast in the image.

Three – The rules of composition still apply. Keep in mind that sometimes the image that you see on the viewfinder may come out somewhat altered in the actual photograph, so understand where those alterations lie. Many P&S models have composition guides that are superimposed over the image on the viewfinder, which can help you to understand the alignment of the final photograph. Avoid such things as always centering the subject, or cutting off subjects at odd junctures. Keep horizons, lines and angles straight and/or properly aligned.

Four – Change your perspective. One of the great things about today’s P&S models is their compact, lightweight and convenient size. The very fact that you can simply hold onto the camera with greater ease opens up a whole range of opportunity for uniquely angled shots. That you don’t have to fuss with lens changes or lug a bunch of equipment around enables you to walk further, climb higher, and shoot faster. Take advantage of that convenience to diversify the types of photographs that you take.

Five – Talk to your friends. Not sure what kind of P&S camera you should buy? Talk to your friends, ask to borrow their models and find the one that is right for you. Models range in the amount of features they offer, and the learning curves they posses. Three that are getting the most publicity lately are the Panasonic Lumix, the Canon PowerShot, and the Nikon Coolpix. All are similar in capabilities and image quality, and all carry comparable price tags. Do your research and read the reviews to ensure the model you purchase is the right one for you.

Photo credits (in order of appearance):
- “Point and shoot” by Alex Garcia on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “#2 on Explore (with a point and shoot)” by Goingslo on Flickr Creative Commons.

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  • http://twitter.com/FlashAndFlair Flash&Flair Photos

    Great post Tiffany! I simply love p&s camera's and own a whole bunch of vintage ones. I should get some film again, and retry starting to shoot with a few of them.
    Thanks for reminding me! Have a great weekend.
    Marion

  • Mitch

    Even when taking memory snapshots of someone, take the time to get it right. I have taken too many pictures of someone close and that was the last picture of them ever taken. Last year I took a quick shot of my dad and family and friends of his on a trip. That is the one they had to use at his funeral a year later. Even party snapshots can be so very important to someone.. Take the time to get a good shot.. You never know how important in might be someday.

  • Tiffany

    My pleasure, Marion! Have fun!

  • Tiffany

    Truly an excellent point, Mitch!

  • Tiffany

    Truly an excellent point, Mitch!

  • Tiffany

    My pleasure, Marion! Have fun!

  • http://howtosellfotosonline.blogspot.com/2010/08/do-i-need-expensive-camera-always.html sell photos online

    Ya point and shoot are very user friendly and can compete with dslr cameras. I like the point you made about cameras. Ya i agree a camera doesn’t matter as long as you can take good photos. Only a bad photographer can make a good camera look bad.