- Arts and Design
Photography tips for point-and-shoot cameras
It is possible to get great photos with cheap compact camera?
I'm sure there is plenty of people who can't afford DSLR cameras and expensive equipment, but still have a passion in photography or just want to have better family photos. Maybe some of you are great cooks and want to photograph the food you make for your very own recipe book, or you are passionate gardener and you want to have quality photos of your plants hanging in your living room. Maybe you are just a beginner, like I once was, and you don't know where to start.
In this lens I will cover digital photography basics, and some tips that will help you get better photos with your compact camera.
I'm one of "wannabe-professional-photographer-but-can't-afford-expensive-camera-at-the-moment" and I'll tell you few things where to begin and how to improve your photography skills.
This is for people who already don't own point-and-shoot camera or considering buying a new one.
The first thing you have to pay attention is the zoom. Choose the camera that has bigger optical zoom. I have 6 years old Canon PowerShot with 10x optical zoom. For all cameras, DSLR and compact, in most cases the bigger is better. This goes for size of sensor and size of photos equally.
So, it is good ideas to check specifications before you buy, like sensor, maximum photo size (in pixels), optical zoom.
It is never good thing to buy a camera based only on appearance, but it is possible to find great looking camera with great perfomance.
What type of camera do you mostly use?
Some Canon PowerShots on Amazon
This are some cameras that I would love. Out of this three, I would probably choose the Powershot SX130IS. It has a great value for money and it has 12x wide angle zoom with image stabilising. That means that I could zoom more without losing quality or pixelising a photo, and I would get less blur if I don't have a tripod or something where I could put my camera on. This is actually low-end compact camera, but it is just a step behind
DSLR. You can take great photos with it, and if you are thinking of buying a DSLR in the future, this the great camera for practice where you can brush your skills.
And I love the design! I love a bit bulky rough looking camera. What can I say, I'm an oldfashioned girl (when it comes to cameras) .
This would be my compact camera of choice. I have older version of this camera, and it is equally perfect for beginner and advanced photographers
All photos in this lens I took with my old Canon Powershot SX100IS
Know your camera
This is very important. The manual that comes with camera isn't just for decoration, it can actually help you to improve your skills. While for some situations it can be great to shoot in AUTO mode, for some isn't.
If you want to get a close-up of a flower, a butterfly, some great cake you baked or a close up of your son, daughter or grandchildren, and you want the photo to be sharp and good color, you will have to shoot in macro mode (usually marked with a little flower). And it is good idea to shoot in aperture priority mode, so that you can control the depth of field (how blurry will background get) so you can minimize distractions from your main subject.
On my camera, aperture priority mode is marked with AV, and I'm pretty sure that is the same on all Canon models, but on Sony or some other cameras it can be marked slightly different. So check you manual, get to know options and modes, white-balance setting (very important if you are shooting indoors with artificial light). And the practice, take photos with different settings. Believe me I know that all those controls and options can be confusing at the beginning. It took me some time until I got comfortable and now I can almost instantly adjust the setting that is the best for the photo(s) I want to shoot.
Reading all those boring (and sometimes confusing) pages will pay off when you see that your photos are getting better and you get wows from your family and friends.
Some books on Amazon for beginner photographers
These are some books that will help you to brush your skills no matter what camera you own
This is really comprehensive book, and you will learn a lot. Perfect if you have some time, and you want to turn pro at some point.
What brand of camera do you prefer?
Can I now finally start taking the photos?
Of course you can! The more photos you take, the better you will get, especially if you pay attention on some basic guidelines. Each photo you take you can analize and think of things you could do better.
Here are some basic rules that you should have in mind when photographing:
1. Hold the camera as still as possible, and if you have image stabilisation and vibration reduction on camera, make sure that they are on
2. Avoid shooting in the midday. You will get blown out highlits and sharp shadows. If you don't have a choice take your subject to the shade.
3. Lower the exposure if you shoot on a bright day or in the sun. It is better to shoot slightly under exposed and this is easily fixed in editing programs.
If your photos are overexposed and have blown out areas, you loose all the details that can't be recovered with any program.
4. Choose the large format photos on your camera (the ones with biggest resolution). You can always crop or downsize the photo, but it is hard to upsize it if you have a photo with small resolution.
5. Learn the basic rules of composition, like the rule of thirds. This is fairly simple rule and easy to follow, and it can make your photos interesting. You don't have to always follow it, but you can't brake the rule if you don't know it.
6. Learn to use some editing program like Photoshop, Gimp, Picassa or whatever you prefer. Some are free, and some are quite expensive, some have more options than other. But if you want to have quality photographs, at least some basic editing will be necessary: levels, curves, maybe color correction, some noise removal... I've seen very few photos straight out of the camera that wouldn't benefit from some editing. And I'm not talking about retouching, or drastically changing your photo, just giving some depth and making colors more similar to the ones we saw with our eyes. Digital photography is wonderful, and has many benefits, but photos tend to look a bit flat or washed-out, especially if taken in the shade.
7. Try not to use flash, or if you do, be careful about it. Lower its intensity and use it as fill flash if you shoot a person in the shade or if you have sun behind the subject and you don't want dark silhouette.
8. Shoot from different angles, and don't be afraid to experiment. If the photos are bad, you can always delete it
9. Be selective of your work. Discard blurred and out of focus photos, sharpnes of main subject is what makes a good photo.
10. Shoot, shoot, shoot... Take as many photos as you can, whenever you have a chance. You'll see the progress very soon and you'll start to se the world with different eyes, you will start noticing things that you didn't see before and find beauty in ordinary thing. To me, this is the most rewarding thing about photography.
I'd love to know was this text helpful, and would you like to know more. Would you love to read something more in depth like composition, theory, processing....?
Would you like to see more articles that are more in depth about composition, theory, processing...?
I would love to hear your opinion about this lens, were this photography tips helpful, and any suggestions for future lens related to beginner photography.
Very inspiring music
This song lifts my spirit and gives me energy when I'm shooting :)