How To Take Better Photographs With Easy to Use Point and Shoot Cameras
How to take better photos
In this article I want to share some of the tips on how to take better photos with a point and shot compact camera. Technology has advanced so much in recent years, anyone can take a decent photos with a bit of attention to detail.
I've had a digital camera for years, quite a good one actually, but it was only in October 2009 that I finally decided to find out what all the dials were for. I joined a three week introduction to digital photography and was so enthralled by it that I signed on for a Level 1 NCFE course and went on to complete Level 2 NCFF. I enjoyed that and I can see what a long way I have come in such a short time.
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Become Familiar with your Camera Symbols
There is nothing wrong with using the automatic or semi- automatic settings on your camera. Start with these and develop skills as you go on. Just remember the camera is a machine, it can only do so much and with just a few simple tips you can improve your photos. Learn the semi-automatic controls on your camera to extend the scope of your picture taking:
Your camera manual will tell you more exactly, but there are certain symbols that are universal.
- The symbol of a lady with a hat is PORTRAIT MODE
- The symbol of some mountains is the LANDSCAPE MODE
- The symbol of a rose is the CLOSE UP OR MACRO MODE
- The symbol of a running figure is the SPORTS OR MOTION MODE
- The symbol of the moon and stars is the NIGHTTIME MODE
Using the appropriate symbol for each eventually gives much better results than simply shooting in AUTOMATIC since the camera adjusts for each mode. For example:
- In PORTRAIT MODE there is usually a face recognition aspect to the autofocus.
- In LANDSCAPE MODE there is no focus point and the camera assumes a wide angle to get in as much of the scene as possible.
- In MACRO MODE – the camera focal length will be at the shortest that your camera can achieve giving you sharp images
- In SPORTS MODE – the camera will adust the shutter speed to capture and stop motion in your photo.
- In NIGHT TIME MODE – the camera adjusts the aperture, the amount of light that it takes in, to account for low light levels.
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Top Tip to Better Photography: Get Down
- Get down to the level of your subject. There are hundreds of photos of children, or birds, or flowers taken from your standing eye-level. Think about it, if you are standing looking down, your subject is looking up so will be foreshortened. You will be amazed at how this very simple tip improves your photos out of all proportion. Experiment with willing volunteers, get them to move, you move.
For this shot, I got down on my knees to be on a level with Smudge the Duck – If I had been standing looking down the photo would have looked much different.
The additional advantage of getting down the that level, is it allows the camera to blur the background a bit to keep the subject the main focus of attention. If I had shot it looking down, my background would have been too close to her to blur.
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- Canon PowerShot A3500 IS Camera with Wi-Fi - Black 3.0: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
Canon PowerShot A3500 IS Camera with Wi-Fi - Black 3.0: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
- Nikon Coolpix L30 Compact Digital Camera - Red 3.0: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
Nikon Coolpix L30 Compact Digital Camera - Red 3.0: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
Top Tip for Better Photos: Fill the Frame
2. Fill the Frame. Don’t be afraid to fill the whole frame with your subject. Too often you see family shot with a tiny figure somewhere near the background. You may have to get closer to them, alternatively you need to use the ZOOM option on your camera. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Look for different angle, different viewpoints. It is so easy today with digital cameras, after all you can delete any that don’t work out quite right.
In the top photo - these Amaryllis are pretty - but the photo is nothing special.
In the next photo - fill the frame and I have something with much more impact.
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St Andrews Cathedral Scotland
St Andrews Cathedral
Tip for Better Photos: Composition
This doesn’t have to be complicated, simply pay attention. Have a quick look around the frame before you take the picture and make sure there isn’t anything sticking out of someone’s ear.
Be aware of things that provide a natural frame – trees, doorways…
Look for vanishing points things that form nice disappearing lines or things that lead you into the picture as the wisteria walk in Harrogate shows. Incidentally it also has a vanishing point another plus in photo composition.
Wisteria Walk Harrogate West Yorkshire England
© 2014 annmackiemiller
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