06 March 2010

Point and Shoot Shooting Pointers

Before anything else, let me just make it clear that the camera you have is the best camera in the world. (say it with me 100x "the camera that i have is the best camera in the world.")

BECAUSE YOU ALREADY HAVE IT; CHANCES ARE YOU KNOW HOW TO PUSH ALL THE BUTTONS AND YOU HAVE THE MANUAL (in the hopes that you did not throw it away- in that case, there is always youtube). Of course someone will always have a better camera than you do, but that does not mean that it takes better photos than yours. Technically, it may be better, but visually – no.  


to prove my point, I have taken this photo with my old Canon A400. (it is 3.2 megapixels.)

Some things you might like to keep in mind if you are using a point and shoot camera (p&s).

1. Turn off your flash as much as possible.
    Cameras nowadays are light sensitive that they can capture images even in a dark room. Blurry images are not necessarily bad - it could convey movement. (this photo was taken in the dance floor. half naked guy eventually strutted his stuff!)

Not only does flash wash out your subject, it usually makes for very uneven photos of your foreground and background. Most of the time you end up with a bright foreground paired with a very dark background. This allows you to take photos without disturbing your subject with a flash of bright light.

It also allows you to shoot through glass - i was inside the other cable car when i shot this.

This also allows you to capture the true time of day, or the true colors of the moment that you are documenting. had i taken this image with a flash, the "neonness" of the colors will go flat. you can also tell by the tone that i had taken this photo late in the afternoon.

2.  Manual setting is your best friend if you have the patience to learn it. Otherwise, Night Mode (MOON AND STARS) is your best bet.
I have noticed how this feature is underutilized by most p&s shooters. When you are outdoors and the lighting is inadequate for a non-flash photo, switch your photos to night mode and shoot away, even if it isn’t night yet. The night mode button is for low lighting conditions. You may notice there is more blur and there’s cloning of light bearing objects (lamps, lampposts) you can minimize this by turning on your timer and setting the camera on a steady surface. It would be most helpful to tell your subjects to hold their pose a second or two extra.

If the flash goes off and you are still not happy:

Set camera to manual mode. Scroll to the 0 scale. 
All cameras would have a -2, - 1, 0 +1, +2 scale.
Set the “needle” to choose to the + side. What this does is it makes itself more sensitive to light – hence you get “clearer” photos.

(this image was taken with a Canon A400)
if there is too much light/sunlight, set your needle to the minus side - this setting allows less light into your camera and reduces glare and reflection.
When i first took this photo, the "luke's lobster" sign was just a white oval and you cannot see the people behind the window.

3. The timer serves more than including yourself in the group photo.
The 10second and 2second timer allows your camera to be rid of camera shake so your photos don’t come out blurry. This is quite helpful when you are taking macro shots (close up-detailed shots) and when your camera is set to that FLOWER mode. 

4.  Always shoot in the highest resolution possible , or second to the highest resolution.
This allows you to be able to print your photos nicely. Most web printing services have a minimum resolution, and they will warn you if you have uploaded a small resolution size and they will say that it is a “bad print size."

You may really know how to operate your camera, but you might be in a rush to delete the bad images that YOU MAY ACCIDENTALLY ERASE ALL THE IMAGES IN YOUR MEMORY CARD. I have noticed people delete “bad photos” of themselves immediately. If you seriously detest that angle of yours, deal with it. Better have that bad photo than no photo at all – especially on vacations. If you are travelling, make sure to bring another memory card (which is really cheap nowadays) rather than deleting images while on the go. (in other words, vanity=stupidity.) this is definitely a rule that all professional photographers live by.

Remember to always bring a camera with you. Not all phones have good cameras attached to them (especially mine – paging Motorola!!!) and its best to be prepared to have it when a good photo opportunity is at hand.

Have fun and take lots of photos! It really isnt about the gear that you own, its how you use it and if you use it at all. 

Disclaimer: All photos have been taken with my Canon Powershot SD1100 except where noted. All photos have not been enhanced except for the first two photos and the last photo. ALL ENHANCEMENTS ARE MINIMAL.
First photo had red eyes corrected and was enhanced in Adobe Photoshop using Levels.
Second and Last photo was enhanced in Adobe Lightroom for exposure and black clipping.
Watermarks, if present, are all added in Adobe Lightroom.