Thursday, February 25, 2010

Photo Thursdays- Shooting better pictures with a point and shoot

This is my point and shoot camera. I love it. I love it because it was affordable, it is portable and I have taken some great pictures with it. My point and shoot is not top of the line. It was one of the cheapest models out there. We bought it because it did video and we wanted video of our little girl, not for its picture-taking capabilities. I now find myself sometimes bringing my point and shoot because I want pictures and I don't have room to bring the SLR.

On the next few Photo Thursdays, I am going to give you tips on how to get more from your point and shoot. I am going to start you off with my five basic tips today.

1. Limit your subjects. Do you really keep those pictures of a million different kids at the party? Chances are those ones aren't your favorite. Most people have the tendency to love cute closeups of their kids, so why not take more of those? When I used to take pictures for the newspaper, the rule was that if a picture had six people or more in it, you didn't need to name them. If six is so many at a newspaper that they aren't even important enough to name, don't you think it is too many for the typical photo?

2. Fill your frame. What do you want in your picture? A cute picture of your kid in the swimming pool? Then fill the frame with that. Cut out the unnecessary extra parts of the pool. You want to see your subject. Experiment with your optical zoom. Zoom in a little more than you usually do and see if you like the how much more your subject fills the frame. Make sure to be careful with digital zooms as they can often lower the actual amount of megapixels your camera will provide in the shot, thereby reducing the overall picture quality. Not all cameras have that problem, but be careful nonetheless.
3. Explore extra settings. Your camera is designed to do more than just point and shoot, but that is usually what everyone does with them. Explore your extra settings. Most cameras have scene settings, play with them when you have a little extra time and see what they can do. DO NOT wait until you are in the moment to try and start figuring out your settings. That moment of your baby blowing out their 1st birthday candles is probably not the time to try something you are not sure is going to work.
4. Don't always shoot horizontal. Sometimes the best way to fill your frame is to flip your camera vertical. Also, think of your frames: are they all hung vertically on your wall? Then you might want to take some vertical pictures. People have the tendency to just shoot horizontal because that is what's easiest.

5. Don't use your flash unless you need it. One of the easiest way to ruin a picture is too much flash. Sometimes you can't avoid it. Use it when you need it, but you will find that turning off the flash when it isn't necessary will help your photos lose some of the haze that seems to linger around.

I would love to know what you guys want to learn more about. If you ever have a photo question, leave a comment and I will answer it for you.

(The pictures with this post aren't completely random, I took them with my point and shoot this past week.)


Lu said...

Love it! Thanks. :) Most of my questions are about lighting. I'd love some tips on how to get studio-look lighting in my house with a point and shoot. If that's even possible. :)

Damaris said...

I don't have questions for you because I don't know enough to have questions, but I'm excited for the point-and-shoot camera tips because that's what I need! Thank you!

Stan and Chels said...

Oo oo I have a question! I have $300 - $400 to spend and I think I want a new camera. My current camera is five years old and is 6 mega pixels so it's time. What do you recommend? What's the best camera I can get for that price range?