Saturday, November 6, 2010

How to take good Photos with your Point and Shoot Camera

Not everyone has the luxury of an SLR camera.  Most people use smaller, cheaper point and shoot cameras.  These cameras are great for most situations and they offer a great way for someone who just wants to "take some pics".  Another great thing about them is that they are portable.  Amy and I still have an older point and shoot camera that we take to places where we can't bring our bulkier gear.  It's a great little camera to throw in a purse/pocket.

I decided to right a short blog post with some tips and tricks on how you can the most out of your point and shoot camera, because, sometimes the best camera is the one that you have with you.

Quick tips:
  • Try to use 'available light' as much as possible.  The flash on most smaller point and shoot cameras is so close to the lense that the light from the flash bounces off the eyes of people and back into the lense, making nasty red eye.  I have NEVER had this happen with an SLR where the flash is much higher off the body.  If you do get red eye, try to get rid of it in an editting program, or in some cases, on camera there will be an option to get rid of red eye.  Another thing that is bad about the flash on smaller cameras is that it points STRAIGHT at the person, giving a deer in the headlights look. 
  • Hold the camera steady. This is a no brainer. Also, the more you zoom in, the more you'll have to be steady-handed.  Another option is to get a cheap tripod.
  • Don't shoot into the sun. If your subject it between you and the sun, you might get a really underexposed subject.  One way around this is to put the flash on, but once again, the flash tends to be a nuissance on these type of cameras.
  • Don't put your subject in the middle of the picture. This is BORING.  Put your subject off to the side a bit unless there is a specific reason for them to be in the middle (symmetry for example)
  • Watch out for too much dead space. The last thing you want in a picture where the subject takes up 1/6th of the frame and the rest of the picture is of other things.
  • Simplify. Sort of like what I said above, but take out any needless objects from your picture if they aren't needed, or zoom/walk closer.
  • Learn how to set some of your cameras settings. If you're interested in photography, read up on aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.  Most point and shoots let the user change these settings, although it tends to be buried in the menu somewhere.
  • Keep a spare set of batteries. Most point and shoots eat up batteries like nobodies business.  Also, the LCD tends to use the most power so a good idea is to turn it off and learn to use the little viewfinder to take pictures.  (the little window that you can look through, assuming your camera has one, it may not)
  • Prefocus. Most point and shoot cameras focus when you hold the shutter release button halfway down.  A good trick is to focus by pushing the button halfway in, and then moving the camera a bit to move the subject off centre before actually taking the picture.
I hope this tips help, if you need help with wedding photography or portraits I can definitely give you a hand!  Otherwise, just keep on shooting! 

Last Mountain Photography