ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Beginning Photography from a Point and Shoot to a DSLR!

Updated on February 22, 2017
Photo Credit: Sunflower by Arnaud S.
Photo Credit: Sunflower by Arnaud S.

Point-And-Shoot How-to-Photography for Beginners.

Want to take awe-inspiring, mind-blowing, professional photos but feel daunted because all you have is a point-and-shoot? Well, there's hope for you!!!!

You can get professional results from your point-and-shoot camera by implementing some easy how-to-photograph techniques and I'm going to show you how!

Learn how to be a photographer with this easy beginning photography tutorial and whether you're an amateur, semi-professional or pro, you're sure to learn something useful from these easy to follow photography tips and tricks! So sit back, relax and feast your eyes on some amazing photography to set your inspiration on fire!

Photo Credit: Sunflower by Arnaud S.

Step #1: MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY - Windows in a Drop

Photo Credit: Windows in a Drop by Arnaud S.
Photo Credit: Windows in a Drop by Arnaud S.

The photo above is entitled "Windows in a drop" and was taken with a point and shoot Sony DSC-W30. It's a water drop on a flower petal and a great experiment to try on a rainy day. Within the waterdrop you can see a reflection of the Windows logo. This is achieved by shooting the flower with my desktop as background! Inside job of course in front of my PC! You have to use an aperture which would give you a focus on the drop but also give you a nice bokeh. Remember to just put your settings to macro and get up as close as you can to your subject keeping in mind to steady yourself for the shot. Here you want to avoid any motion blur and get the sharpest image possible!

The settings for this particular shot are:

Camera: Sony DSC-W30

Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)

Aperture f/2.8

Focal Length 6.3 mm

ISO Speed 100

Exposure Bias -1 EV

Flash Off, Did not fire (as I have a flashlight shining on the flower and waterdrop)

1. MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY

So you want to get into macro photography but feel daunted because you don't have a professional camera? Think again! Point and shoot cameras have become progressively better every year. Aside from the fact that there's little excuse for not having one with you at all times, the pictures they take can be pretty remarkable.

Point and shoot cameras are macro friendly. Other than their compact size, one of the cooler aspects of smaller cameras is their inherent close-focusing abilities. Because point and shoots typically contain lenses with extremely short, single-digit focal ranges, they can focus closer than the longer focal length equivalent lenses found in Four Thirds, APS-C and full-frame digital cameras.

Although larger-format cameras require macro lenses in order to capture life-size close-ups, most point-and-shoot cameras can focus down to a few centimeters from the front lens element right out of the box. Even so, there are a few tools worth having, and tricks worth trying, which can make capturing macro images a lot more manageable and successful.

Turn on the camera's built-in flash and if your camera has one, dial in just enough flash to open the shadows and illuminate your subject in a manner that balances with the ambient light of the background areas of the image.

If your camera's flash (or LED array) is mounted flush to the front panel of the camera, chances are it will light your subject evenly. However, if your camera has a flash that pops up from the camera's top plate, there is a strong chance its light path will overshoot your subject and, if that's the case, depending on your choice of camera, you'll have to think of external methods of illuminating your subject with additional light.

Some photographers purchase a small diffuser or bounce device to disperse the light from the flash to envelop the subject. For more on diffusion devices for electronic flash see the section on Flash Diffusers, below.

Setting up Your Camera Controls for Macro Photography

Dial setting on macro
Dial setting on macro

The steps involved in optimizing your camera settings for macro capture varies from camera to camera, but the basics hold true across the board.

Assuming your point-and-shoot camera has a macro focusing mode (and most do), it's commonly set by clicking on the flower petal icon among the camera controls located on the top or rear of the camera (see your owner's manual for the specifics).

Once in macro mode, your camera will be able to focus down to its closest focusing distance, and in most cases will still be able to hit the infinity mark on a moment's notice without having to reset your camera.

Make sure you have your camera's image stabilization system turned on in order to minimize camera shake, which becomes increasingly magnified the closer you get to your subject.

To get around the lighting problems inherent to point-and-shoot macro photography, it's often necessary to resort to auxiliary flashes and accessory reflectors.

The big challenge of macro imaging is being able to get in close enough to the subject without crossing the light path of the lens. If your camera has one you may want to attach a compact slave flash or you can opt for an LED array attaching it to a small bracket that can be mounted to the tripod thread of your camera, angled inward toward the lens and triggered by the camera's flash.

A bit of practice and flash positioning is most likely in order, but the results can be quite good.

Flash Diffusers

Flash diffuser
Flash diffuser

If you go the flash route, you should take advantage of any flip-down or snap-on diffusers that might be built into or included with your flash as a means of softening the blow of the flash when it fires close to your subject.

If your flash doesn't offer any diffusion options, you still have the choice of purchasing any number of plastic and fabric snap-on / slip-on bounce diffusers for shoe and bracket-mounted accessory flashes as displayed further below.

Another way to go is to "do-it-yourself". There are a number of ingenious ways to make a home-made gadget. Try covering your camera's pop-up flash with a cigarette box or yogurt container. Or be creative and cut some plastic from an old water bottle

camera flash diffuser with cigarette box
camera flash diffuser with cigarette box
try covering the flash with paper
try covering the flash with paper
a diy flash diffuser made with a paper plate
a diy flash diffuser made with a paper plate

Tripods and Camera Supports

Not everyone has a tripod. If you don't have a tripod try steadying yourself on a table or firm object or resting the camera on supports or books close to your subject.

Steady yourself to minimize camera shake
Steady yourself to minimize camera shake
or try resting the camera on a firm surface
or try resting the camera on a firm surface

Choosing the best form of camera support for macro photography depends greatly on what you're shooting and where you're shooting it.

Full-size tripods are fine and dandy except when shooting subjects beyond the reach of a camera. At times like this your choices are hand-holding with your camera's IS system (image stabilization) turned on.

So you're crazy about macro photography? - Photographer's top choice....

vote your favorite photos
vote your favorite photos

I'm mad about...

See results

Step #2: HIGH SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY - Liquid Gold

Photo Credit: Liquid Gold by Arnaud S.
Photo Credit: Liquid Gold by Arnaud S.

Photo Credit: Liquid Gold by Arnaud S.

The above image is called "Liquid Gold" and was taken with a Nikon D90 DSLR. It's a waterdrop in a beaten golden vase. It's what I had on hand at the moment when I took this shot. This time I used the built-in flash. No fancy setup...just water dripping from a tap with the vase underneath and the colors are natural! I chose a vase that wasn't smooth on purpose. See all those crazy reflections? Well, they're caused by the irregularities in the vase and the shiny golden surface is what takes it to the heights!

Camera Nikon D90

Exposure 0.006 sec (1/160)

Aperture f/5.6

Focal Length 105 mm

ISO Speed 800

Exposure Bias 0 EV

2. HIGH SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY

REMEMBER TO FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE STEPS:

*Use the "Macro Mode" -- this is the 'flower icon' on your camera's shooting modes. Most, if not all cameras have this mode.

*Use the shutter priority mode and set the fastest flash sync possible)

*Set a Background if you feel it is necessary. If you are shooting in your sink you might consider a towel or something basic to cover up the faucet. Some people also use colored paper on the bottom of their sinks which creates a great colored reflection on each drop. In the above shot I used a gold colored vase.

*Use light! turn on the lights to eliminate dark, and shadowed rooms.

*Play with white balance settings to make the water "blue"

*Use your Flash!

*Try to synchronize the water dropping with your reflex on the shutter button.

*Don't get discouraged! It can take over 200 shots on your first time to get it right the first time. Many people have said that only after a week of practice they were able to take excellent shots.

*Don't delete shots on the scene. Once uploaded to your computer the snapshots look much better, and you will find a couple of nice surprises.

Beginner or PRO? - Are you a master with the camera?

When it comes to photography I'm a....

See results

HIGH SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY COMMENTS - Ever photograph some action sports, waterdrops or balloons bursting?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      Just had to stop by again. Great info!

    • scheino lm profile image

      scheino lm 4 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      purelightphoto 4 years ago

      Great looking Lens! cool cameras this will do good on photography addicts like me

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      This is a cool lens on photographers, thanks for sharing.

    • designsbyharriet profile image

      Harriet 4 years ago from Indiana

      I am a jewelry designer and my photographer is less than desirable. I need all the help I can get. Thanks for this lens. Blessed

    • nikkijohntan lm profile image

      nikkijohntan lm 4 years ago

      Nice Lens, it will surely help beginners to start photography. You lens contains information about how to use camera and how to capture the best pictures. By reading this post he can become good photographer.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for all this helpful information. Appreciate your work here.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm a beginner level and am wowed by all you share here...excellence!

    • TheBLU26 profile image
      Author

      TheBLU26 4 years ago

      @supergras: My friend, anyone can photograph food just like the pros. Angle? Be creative, don't just shoot what's in front of you. Get down low at eye- level with your subject or shoot from above pointing directly down. If using a point-and-shoot digital camera use the macro mode and get up close. Focus on the foreground details rather than the complete picture. If using a DSLR using a macro or fast lens should give you the shallow depth of field that you need for that beautiful creamy "bokeh" background effect. Avoid flash, try to use available light when you can. Positioning your subject near a brightly lit window is a good trick. You can also use "bounced" light by beaming a light off a wall or white background onto your subject. If you need the flash use a flash diffuser. This will produce a nice soft light. Use fresh food! Nature knows how to show off it's beauty best!

    • supergras profile image

      supergras 4 years ago

      I want to start photographing food. Is there a specific angle these pro looking "food porn" pictures are shot at?

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      So.......the camera CAn lie! I'll tell my husband! New camera maybe???

    • profile image

      wordpress-guru 4 years ago

      i just love macro's :)

    • Orchids11 profile image

      Orchids11 4 years ago

      Excellent, wow, I sure know where to come if I want to learn to be a pro.

      Great lens and tons of helpful information. Many thanks :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      There is a lot of helpful information here. Thank you for the help!

    • WhatAboutThat profile image

      WhatAboutThat 4 years ago

      Awesome lens, I find myself having problems with my digital shots and the tips on here will certainly help. Maybe next year's Christmas photos of the kids will turn out better! Thanks.

    • capriht profile image

      capriht 4 years ago

      Great Lens and I love the HTML or CSS work gone into it...

    • profile image

      pnpphotography 4 years ago

      wow lots of interesting and useful gift ideas of photography..nice lens :)

    • TheBLU26 profile image
      Author

      TheBLU26 4 years ago

      @Ladymoss111: Thank you so kindly Lady Moss! I appreciate your generosity! How is your HTML going? Hope your coding is going alright?

    • Ladymoss111 profile image

      Ladymoss111 4 years ago

      I find this lens inspiring; I am going to learn from here how to take good photographs. I will give the web address for this lens for my quest as an inspiring lens.

    • Ladymoss111 profile image

      Ladymoss111 4 years ago

      Hi Arnaud! Can you please tell me how do you credit a picture, both yours and the one you get online?

    • profile image

      RandyMilson 4 years ago

      Thank you, thank you thank you ^^

    • Ladymoss111 profile image

      Ladymoss111 4 years ago

      Very informative lens, I will be back!

    • MoreBetterThings profile image

      MoreBetterThings 4 years ago

      So much helpful advice here! As a writer I try to do as much of my own photography for my articles as I can, but I always struggle to get my pics to come out right!

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I have always struggled to get great action shots of sports. Even with panning, my cameras were not fast enough.

    • profile image

      Deadpool 4 years ago

      Great Lens

    • profile image

      cellardoorenterprises 4 years ago

      How about a macro photography object poll option for "all of the above"? I love the details you write about each of the pictures with metadata included-- good technical insight!

      http://simplephotoeditingsoftware.com/

    • profile image

      RudyTanjung 4 years ago

      I like the macro photography you did. It's awesome. Thanks for sharing and for writing such a great lens.

    • profile image

      IteireApollos 4 years ago

      @TheBLU26: This is breath taking

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Incredible lens! Your "Windows in a Drop" - Exquisite

    • profile image

      Hurlserv 4 years ago

      I loved reading this lens. The pics are beautiful. Although I shoot a couple Canon DSLR's the macro advice is spot on regardless of equipment. Interestingly, while I've cobbled together more that a couple flash diffusers and reflectors, and am a smokerâyeah, I know, I knowâI've never thought of using a cigarette pack in conjunction with my electronic flash units.

    • pumpum profile image

      pumpum 4 years ago

      Amazing lens, definitely worth a like!

    • The One Stop Shop profile image

      The One Stop Shop 4 years ago

      Great lens and great information!

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 4 years ago

      Thanks for the useful information.

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 4 years ago

      Thanks for the useful information.

    • TheBLU26 profile image
      Author

      TheBLU26 4 years ago

      @bigmedicine: @bigmedicine, do you have a macro mode on your PS? If you have one, use it, it's generally the one with the little "flower" icon on your settings dial. The secret to successful macro shots with a PS is avoiding camera shake and increasing the available light. You'll notice that even with macro mode you can't get too close to your subject but you CAN get around that by taking as sharp a shot as you can from the closest distance possible while keeping your subject in focus. Consider this: even if you had a super-expensive DSLR and there is camera shake you would end up with a bad pic! Try it! Remember, it's not the camera that makes the photographer, you CAN take control and make anything a good picture!

    • TheBLU26 profile image
      Author

      TheBLU26 4 years ago

      @wattyan: Wattyan, what kind of point-and-shoot camera do you have? Even in full auto mode you can take amazing macro shots! Find the "macro" setting on your PS and set it to that. Get as close as you can without getting out of focus. Try to prop yourself up in such a way to be as still as possible and reduce camera shake. Snap 100 or more pics if you have to! Choose the best shot and crop it if it's too small. Tell me how it turns out after this. I can guarantee you'll be amazed at what you can do!

    • MissPuppy profile image

      MissPuppy 4 years ago

      I have only tried taking my dog running when it comes to fast action shooting, but I would really love to do some balloon popping photos. That would be lots of fun. :)

    • profile image

      wattyan 4 years ago

      I really crazy with macro but i don't want to buy any macro lens. Have any DIY?

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 4 years ago

      Great Lens and information, excellent graphics.

    • bigmedicine profile image

      bigmedicine 4 years ago

      I have a true point and shoot, no settings, can turn flash on/off or set for portrait/landscape but other than that, no adjustments. I have tried to get very close photos and they always blur when too close. Your shots are beautiful.

    • Bebopis profile image

      Bebopis 4 years ago

      Nice images, thanks for the info, you do great photography...

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 4 years ago

      Beautiful images!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      Nice the way you encourage everyone.

    • Mamabyrd profile image

      Mamabyrd 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens I would really love to take a photography class

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great info this does help love your liquid gold shot I will just have to try that

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Just great info Thanks

    • profile image

      sailor_man 4 years ago

      Awesome page. I loved the content and I've gave it a Squid Like. Can you return the favor on one of mine?

    • fifta profile image

      fifta 4 years ago

      What a great lens. I love the cup. It reminds me to my brother in law, who's an avid photographer

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      Hours of fun guaranteed!

    • wlashan90037 profile image

      wlashan90037 4 years ago

      Hello neighbor, this sure is a detail piece. Love and Light!

    • JadeHandmade profile image

      JadeHandmade 4 years ago

      Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Great pics and tips!

    • kopox profile image

      kopox 4 years ago

      i love photography :D

    • latishaalford profile image

      latishaalford 4 years ago

      Creative and inspiring. I love the images.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 4 years ago from New York

      Incredible lens with lots of helpful details. Facebook liked, blessed, and featured on "Still Wing-ing it on Squidoo." Needless to say, I am impressed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Managed to photograph our Dog who does not like you taking photos of him. Especially when he is playing with the ball.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Awesome lens you have some real innovative ideas.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great Lens! I Just started photography

    Step #3: NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - Curiosity

    Photo Credit: Curiosity by Arnaud S.
    Photo Credit: Curiosity by Arnaud S.

    Another Nikon D90 shot taken last year....this little kitten is just poised on top of some garbage bins a bit puzzled about how to get down. He is debating whether or not he should jump, will he make it or not? A cute story.

    Every photograph tells a story in one way or another. It involves both the subject and the viewer in an active way.

    Equipment: Nikon D90

    Exposure 0.033 sec (1/30)

    Aperture f/5.6

    Focal Length 105 mm

    ISO Speed 100

    Exposure Bias 0 EV

    Flash: No Flash

    3. NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY

    Nature photography presents some challenges, especially if all you have is a point and shoot. You may not have the powerful lenses that professionals use, but you can take advantage of the telephoto setting equipped on most point and shoot cameras.

    Before getting started the first thing to remember is that all animals, whether household pets or wild, are quick-moving and won't pose for you. To capture them on film, you must be very patient, be willing to shoot a lot of film, and persevere. Watch through your lens until you find an opportune moment, and click your shutter.

    If you're stuck on wildlife photography and live in the middle of a city, with no prospects of going on safari to Africa anytime soon-where can you find wildlife to photograph? It's easier than you might think. There are zoos, nature preserves, aquariums, pet shops, farms and aviaries, some of which may be close to home.

    Whether you photograph animals on safari, in a national park, or at the zoo, remember that most wildlife is most active in the morning or late in the afternoon. At noon, they're often napping. Besides, as with shooting portraits of people, it's best to avoid harsh, midday sun when photographing animal close-ups. The only benefit to bright daylight is that you can use a fast shutter speed to freeze action when photographing creatures on the move.

    Panning your camera to follow the motion of the subject is a creative approach for photographing a bird in flight or a running animal. Set your camera to ISO 100 and put your camera on its landscape mode to give you a slower shutter speed (the sports mode will freeze action).

    Click the shutter as the action begins and rotate your body to follow the movement of the animal. A good way to practice this technique ahead of time is to stand on the side of a road and pan the camera on cars as they pass your field of view. A successful panning shot depicts a relatively sharp-focused subject against a blurred background, giving the impression of motion and speed.

    Pan your camera to follow the motion of the subject
    Pan your camera to follow the motion of the subject

    Equipment check. Some essential items to pack before you go on a photoshoot. - Don't Forget Those Memory cards, Batteries and Bags.

    Before going on a photo shoot you will want to pack a few essential items in your vest or photo bag. Here a just a few items that have proven handy while outdoors and in difficult situations.

    Photo Credit: Famous Last Shots by Geir Akselsen
    Photo Credit: Famous Last Shots by Geir Akselsen

    Photo Credit: Famous Last Shots by Geir Akselsen


    Do you like to photograph animals? Have you ever photographed birds, butterflies, insects, reptiles or your pets?

    subjects I photograph:

    See results

    Step #4: Photo techniques - Understanding Light

    Photo Credit: Light by Arnaud S.
    Photo Credit: Light by Arnaud S.

    Photo Credit: Light by Arnaud S.

    "Light is more than watts and footcandles. Light is metaphor. Light is knowledge. Light is Life"!

    How I did this:

    A great experiment for a rainy day! I think this shot came out best with the minimal amount of light...only just as much as needed. With a flash light pointed directly down into the cup somewhat near the handle and another well-aimed just behind my hand. Hope you like my pic! Oh yeah...it's a point and shoot!

    use a flashlight or lamp for added effect
    use a flashlight or lamp for added effect

    Camera: Sony DSC-W30

    Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)

    Aperture: f/2.8

    Focal Length: 6.3 mm

    ISO Speed: 320

    Exposure Bias: 0 EV

    4. UNDERSTANDING LIGHT

    Check your camera for a low light/ Nighttime mode. Most point and shoot cameras have this mode in their automatic settings or on a little dial on the top of the camera. It's a wonder tool that has many great benefits when taking low-light photography. It enables pictures to be taken with very little light while hand holding the camera, basically if a single candle is the light source a steady hand held shot can be got.

    camera settings night mode
    camera settings night mode
    The camera is much faster and much more responsive - it is now possible to use it as a serious tool for candid shots because it focuses that much faster and it will gain focus anywhere on the screen rather than just the sensor - in other words, grab the camera point it, press the shutter with a fraction of a second delay between the half and full press and you'll have an in focus shot. No need to even look at the viewscreen (that does take a bit of practice though).

    experiment with natural light
    experiment with natural light

    Sometimes LESS is BEST! Try experimenting with light by turning off the automatic flash on your camera and relying on other sources of light to illuminate your subject. Lamps and flashlights don't cost much, are easy to handle and and work really well as you can see form the above.

    flash triggers help reduce camera shake
    flash triggers help reduce camera shake

    Keep handy a wi-fi Remote, Trigger or Flash. - If you're like me you won't want to be without a remote trigger at all times.

    Remote triggers enable you to snap a picture remotely without having to actually be behind the camera. The trigger fires the flash or photo with the flick of a button. These are incredibly useful for long exposure shots, high speed photographs or casual portraits.

    Step #5: Portrait Photography

    Photo Credit: Daydreamer by Arnaud S.
    Photo Credit: Daydreamer by Arnaud S.

    Daydreamer

    Photo Credit: Daydreamer by Arnaud S.

    "When you photograph people in color you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!" ~Ted Grant

    The quote from Ted Grant makes an important point. You do not need color to effectively make your pictures speak. In the above photo the eyes say it all. This is an example of simple portrait photography in black and white.

    This image was taken with a point and shoot Panasonic DMC-ZS1 in broad daylight without the flash. You can set your camera to fully automatic settings for daylight shots and turn off the flash (which can cast some ugly blowouts on your subject).

    Camera Panasonic DMC-ZS1

    Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)

    Aperture f/4.7

    Focal Length 42.6 mm

    ISO Speed 400

    Exposure Bias +0.33 EV

    Flash Off, Did not fire

    5. PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

    As you can see a great portrait can be done with a simple point and shoot digital camera. All you need to keep in mind are some simple hints and tips to take a great portrait.

    A. Lighting

    One of the key things any professional photographer knows is how to work with light. Bad lighting can ruin a picture by washing out the subject or by over encompassing them with shadows.

    The light has to be just right when taking a portrait. If you want to take a portrait inside you should use soft lighting from something like a lamp- no spotlights or overhead lighting!

    If you must use your flash when inside for lack of proper lighting try softening it with a diffuser. If you want to take your portrait in natural day light do it very early in morning at day break or wait until the evening when the light is the best.

    The sun is not harsh and glaring and the natural glow of the setting or rising sun compliments everyone.

    B. Background

    In order to take good portraits, the subject should be the main focus and not their clothes or their background. Have your subject dress in neutral colors and no busy fabrics. Anything crazy will overwhelm the portrait and over take the person themselves.

    It is also a good idea to have a very subdued background. If you are shooting inside you can hang a monotone sheet on a wall or use the wall itself as a portrait backdrop.

    Do not use cluttered living rooms or bedrooms to take a picture because then the focus is forced onto the surroundings of the subject and not them personally.

    C. Point of view

    Something that at first you may overlook. How important it is to get that personalized feel in your shots! Get to the eye level of your subject.

    For children, squat down to take pictures of them. If your adult subject is sitting down, then you should get to his/her eye level, too. This makes them more relaxed as they don't have to raise or lower their head to look at you, which may cause some unnecessary discomfort.

    D. Creative framing

    To get a little more creative, try framing your subjects off center. Try depressing the shutter halfway to focus. Recompose the photo off-center, and take the shot. This should keep the focus on the subject, even if it is not at the center of frame, adding a dynamic element particularly to your portraiture photography.

    This should work with most point and shoots, but some cameras will default to the center as the point of focus. In that case, change the AF setting to "Spot" or "Tracking AF" via the menu system.

    Passionate About Portraits!

    What do you like about portrait photography?

    See results

    TAKE THE PHOTO CHALLENGE! - Have you photographed a stranger?

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Steve999 4 years ago

        Congrats on a really informative lens. Spent quite some time reading through your information..great looking lens! Especially enjoyed the section on understanding light..one of my favorite photo techniques is light painting.

      • profile image

        PeterRobinson234 4 years ago

        I have some tips on night photography, check my lens here

        http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-take-perfect-night-p...

      • flinnie lm profile image

        Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

        Yes, so much great info here. Thanks for the tips.

      • Phillyfreeze profile image

        Ronald Tucker 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

        Plenty of times!...but the wide open aperture makes the strangers in the background a blur. :-

      • profile image

        anonymous 4 years ago

        Sometimes they just end up in a picture I've taken.

      • rattie lm profile image

        rattie lm 4 years ago

        don't think so!

      • capriht profile image

        capriht 4 years ago

        yes I have, I love capturing that moment in time...

      • capriht profile image

        capriht 4 years ago

        yes I have, I love capturing that moment in time...

      • tonybonura profile image

        Tony Bonura 4 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

        Excellent advice for a starting photographer to learn from. And very encouraging too. I give it two thumbs up!

        TonyB

      • profile image

        Deadpool 4 years ago

        Great Lens

      • Heidi Vincent profile image

        Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

        Excellent macro photography! with stunning photos and expert tips.

      • TheBLU26 profile image
        Author

        TheBLU26 4 years ago

        @JenwithMisty: LOL! You're right Jen! Sounds like something out of "Candid Camera"!

      • TheBLU26 profile image
        Author

        TheBLU26 4 years ago

        @MissPuppy: LOL!

      • MissPuppy profile image

        MissPuppy 4 years ago

        Yes I have. They were being quite dangerous and jumping off a rock about 4m (13') off the ground onto sand. (I thought that It would be good to capture their lasts moments :P)

      • JenwithMisty profile image

        Jen withFlash 4 years ago

        This is too funny.. One day I was in the car and the sky looked beautiful. So when I stopped at the next stop light, I grabbed my camera to take a pic. Well, the person in a nearby car thought I was taking their picture and called the police!! (They reported that someone was taking their picture and they just wanted it on file in case something happened to them.. whatever!!!)

      • profile image

        DebMartin 4 years ago

        This lens is an amazing resource. One I'm sure I'll return to often. Thanks so much.

      • lesliesinclair profile image

        lesliesinclair 4 years ago

        I've been too self conscious to photograph strangers, but intend to break through sometime soon.

      • audrey07 profile image

        audrey07 4 years ago

        No, I have not tried taking photos of strangers. Would love to try but just don't have the guts to ask with my current skill level as a photographer!

      • profile image

        anonymous 4 years ago

        Wow this was a terrific lens and so informative especially for learners. I love taking photos of birds as we travel. They are so hard to get as they move so quick.

        Thanks for stopping by my lenses and liking them much appreciated

      Step #6: HDR Photography - Something Old Something New

      Photo Credit: Something Old Something New by Arnaud S.
      Photo Credit: Something Old Something New by Arnaud S.

      Photo Credit: Something Old Something New by Arnaud S.

      This old car evokes a sense of modern elegance. It is shot with a point and shoot Sony DSC-W210 no flash. The subject is particularly suited for an HDR treatment to bring out the details and color.

      Camera Sony DSC-W210

      Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)

      Aperture f/8.0

      Focal Length 6.4 mm

      ISO Speed 125

      Exposure Bias 0 EV

      Flash Off, Did not fire

      6. HDR PHOTOGRAPHY

      Taking amazing photos is something many aspiring amateur photographers strive for. And HDR effects can really make your images pop. Compact digital cameras (point-and-shoot) are the cheapest entry into high dynamic range photography.

      HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. In other words, HDR photos cover a large exposure range, allowing for deeper contrast in both shadows and highlights. HDR photos are striking to look at, but the effect can easily be overdone.

      There are two basic types of HDR photos. The first are true HDR composite photos, created by taking multiple shots of a subject at different exposures and combining them. The second technique involves using Photoshop effects and adjusting the shadows, highlights, and other settings.

      Basic Equipment for HDR Photography

      If you're interested in creating real HDR images, you'll need slightly higher-end equipment than many amateur photographers have. Here's a list:

      *A camera capable of taking images in RAW format

      *A good quality tripod

      *Software such as Photomatix or Photoshop

      Post-processing software allows you to blend photographs with different exposures. This clearly increases the dynamic range of the final output photo. There is also tone mapping which reveals highlight and shadow details in an HDR image made from multiple exposures.

      1. Choose your scene. HDR will often bring out the best in any scene, so this is up to you. Some find a scene with plenty of cloud works well as HDR photos bring out a stunning amount of cloud detail.

      2. Set up your camera. Put your camera on a tripod if you have one; find a solid surface to rest it on if you don't. If you have a remote release for your camera, all the better; you could also use a short self-timer if you don't. Whatever you use, it is very important that the camera does not move between shots.

      3. You need to take 3 or more photographs. Take a photo, adjust the shutter speed one or two stops faster (i.e. if you're at 1/250 sec, go to 1/500 or 1/1000 sec), take a photo, then adjust it one or two stops slower than your original shutter speed (i.e. if you were at 1/250 sec, then set it to 1/125 or 1/60 sec), and take another photo. You will now have three photographs: one overexposed, one underexposed, and one normal.

      4. After the shoot, transfer the images to your computer. There is a merge to HDR feature in many photo editing software including Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix Pro, Dynamic Photo HDR and others. Adobe software is considered the best and most expensive of the list but if you click on the box to the right you can easily get a FREE trial download directly from the Adobe website!

      Creating and Tone-Mapping an HDR Image

      1. Load your images into Adobe Photoshop, Gimp or other graphic program and browse for the three photographs you just took.

      2. Look for the "Tone-map the HDR image" mode. Hit the "Tonemap the Hdr" button in the toolbar. A window will pop up with a slightly bewildering array of tone mapping algorithms and parameters. The default setting does a very good job. But you may want to play with the others as well. Hit "Apply" to tone-map the image.

      3. Save your image. You can post-process your image a little more now if you want. Adobe Photoshop is great but you can use GIMP or other photo editing software of your choice. You may want to fix the colour/white balance (this should not be done with photos before creating your HDR image, as it can have weird effects). Applying subtle amounts of "Unsharp mask" can be a very good thing.

      If all this seems difficult to grasp don't lose your cool! It's a lot easier than you think and with practice you'll soon get the hang if it!

      There you have it! 3 small steps closer to achieving fantastic results with your point and shoot camera!

      If however, all you want to do is create that HDR look in your photos, all you really need is a good point-and-shoot (or DSLR) camera and Photoshop.

      Everything in this technique is done in post-processing, so you'll just want a camera that's capable of taking high-quality originals with a good exposure range. Post processing is the last stage in HDR photography that you can really control. This is where technical skills merge with creative sensibility.

      Hdr Madness!

      What I like about HDR...

      See results

      Step #7: Landscape Photography

      Photo Credit: Sunset at 7 by Arnaud S.
      Photo Credit: Sunset at 7 by Arnaud S.

      Sunset at 7

      Photo Credit: Sunset at 7 by Arnaud S.

      We had an awesome sunset awhile back (they usually happen at 7 pm) and I just kept snapping pics. This one was taken with my point and shoot Sony DSC-W30 no flash. Set your camera to landscape mode and use the night settings on your point and shoot camera. Make sure to try it without the flash!

      Camera Sony DSC-W30

      Exposure 0.008 sec (1/125)

      Aperture f/2.8

      Focal Length 6.3 mm

      ISO Speed 160

      7. LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY

      TIPS AND TRICKS!

      manual mode
      manual mode

      A. Use the manual mode.

      Make the bold move to switch the camera dial from "Auto" to "Manual." More point and shoot digital cameras these days come with built-in manual modes, depending on price and manufacturer.

      Some point and shoot cameras include manual features in which users can control aperture and shutter speed, features that were once only limited to higher-priced SLRs for advanced users. Manual functions give you the benefit to control shooting capabilities in varied lighting and speed situations.

      You can access aperture and shutter speed through the camera's menu settings and then via a zoom button. Although not all compact cameras have aperture and shutter speed controls, the majority of point-and-shoots include controls for ISO speed (usually 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and sometimes 3200), flash (On, Off, Auto, Red-eye Reduction), and sometimes exposure stops (+/- 2).

      Experiment with the manual modes by first playing with the menu items. Change your menu settings by pressing the zoom toggle or main four-way controller, depending on the layout for your camera.

      B. When to turn off the flash

      Point and shoots tend to employ a flash-on setting as the default mode. For travel photography though, most situations will call for little flash compensation since most vacationers spend their time outdoors that is already well lit.

      Try shutting off the automatic flash or suppress the pop-up in situations with plenty of light and see what effect it has. To turn off the flash, hit the multi-controller button marked with a lighting bolt icon, which is oftentimes the preferred method that point and shoots identify the flash setting.

      Change the "Flash On" setting to "Flash Off." Ever thought of using the natural light shining through a window during the daytime instead of the flash?

      You can also turn off the flash for nighttime shooting. To compensate for the lack of light and flash, the camera will boost ISO or slow down the shutter speed, usually automatically, unless overridden in manual mode by the user. In this mode camera shake should be avoided to get the best shots.

      You might want to also use a mini travel tripod or simply set the camera on a firm surface to keep it stable. Use the automatic timer that is included on almost every camera for the increased time it takes to capture the night picture. Most point and shoots have a 2 second timer.

      C. When to turn on the flash

      Some situations do call for the extra help of a flash such as the standard indoors settings or even outdoors in bright sun or shady days. Turn on the automatic flash when facing a strong light source or shooting into the light. For those outdoors situations, users should consider turning down flash to fill in for overcast or shady conditions. Not all point and shoots offer this adjustable feature to increase and decrease flash increments, but if your cameras does, use it. It can help properly expose your outdoor photos for even lighting.

      D. Point of View

      the landscape setting on your camera dial
      the landscape setting on your camera dial

      Point and shoots often have a landscape mode. Try using it. It will give the widest angle to your shots filling your viewfinder with as much of the scene as you can get in.

      Be creative! Change your point of view by getting down low for your shots. Lie down in the grass if you have to! Point your camera upwards to make things in the foreground appear much bigger than they really are. Look for things like street signs with the city behind it or flowers in the foreground with the grassy knoll in the background.

      Also consider shooting overhead for a bird's eye view. Climb to the second level of a shopping mall or other multi-floor venues, and shoot down below. Zoom out, and keep your camera parallel to the ground. This will get the tops of people's heads, which is interesting for big crowds or people in formal wear. This is particularly effective for wide shots in banquet halls for weddings or rockers at concerts.

      You can consider using the tripod for landscape shots. Rotate the camera horizontally using the tripod. Take a series of photos at the same level for a 180-degree, panoramic view. If you choose to, you can use this series of photos for a post-processing stitching to create one long, wide photo. You can achieve all sorts of interesting effects with angle and camera shake as well.

      E. landscapes and night scenes

      Tripods are helpful for nighttime and landscape photography. Bolt the point and shoot to the camera socket on the tripod. Be careful to twist just enough for stability, but not too tight, particularly if the socket is made from plastic, which can peel if worn away from over usage. The tripod will steady the camera. Try shooting cars zooming by on a busy city street. The long exposure will make the cars look like streaks and the light posts like starbursts.

      F. Always be ready to take a great photo

      If you are using the manual mode on your p&s, make sure you have the settings correct for the environment you are in (i.e. ISO set to 100 for broad daylight, or 800 for nighttime, aperture and shutter speed appropriate for action or still shots). If you are suddenly inspired to take a photo, or something interesting happens, be ready to capture that moment instantaneously without fumbling to change the settings.

      Also, it may seem obvious, but all users should remember that battery life during vacation is the key to successful travel shooting. Charge your batteries the night before your hike for the full amount of required time that your manual dictates. Most chargers have a blinking light that signals when the charge is complete. Remember that overcharging your battery can also lead to damage to your battery. Read the fine print on your camera's battery charge times, as spelled out in your manual specifications.

      Essential gear for the outdoor photographer. I highly recommend a photo vest while shooting outdoors.

      Photo vests are extremely practical and saves you a lot of extra baggage when shooting outdoors. You can keep all your memory cards, filters, batteries and triggers on hand while shooting in hard to get places.

      You Can Do Professional Photography!

      My favorite photos are of....

      See results

      Which is your preferred camera?

      cameras and photography
      cameras and photography

      Battle of the Cameras

      See results

      Purple Star award

      This is my first lens. On Jan 3 2013 this lens was awarded the Purple Star award. A big THANK YOU to HQ and all those who squidliked and nominated this lens. I remain forever grateful!

      ME AND MY CAMERA GUESTBOOK - Tell me about your favorite camera and why!

        0 of 8192 characters used
        Post Comment

        • profile image

          PhotoGuide 3 years ago

          Great explanations for beginners. They can find a lot of useful resources. Very nice images above. My favorite camera is the Panasonic Lumix, because it has a fine sensor and lots of internal memory. It is also worth visiting photographyskills.net.

        • profile image

          Namsak 4 years ago

          Like davespeed I am not a photographer but I have just bought my first decent camera and will make full use of your excellent lens.

        • mel-kav profile image

          mel-kav 4 years ago

          I have a Nikon Coolpix L110 - it's a point and shoot with some added features. It takes great macro shots. I really would love a DSLR someday - I would love to have more control. I am definitely bookmarking this lens - love it! Awesome photos and great tips and info. Thanks.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          I'm not a photographer, but I want to learn some basics so that I can take my own photos for my Squidoo lenses. I'm glad I found your lens. I've bookmarked it and will be back to visit again soon. Thanks for sharing this lens with us!

        • flinnie lm profile image

          Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

          Lots of good info here, I like your photography.

        • jayavi profile image

          jayavi 4 years ago

          Lovely introduction about photography. I like Macro photography.

        • pauly99 lm profile image

          pauly99 lm 4 years ago

          Wow. What a crazy long (in a good way) all encompassing photography lens. I used to shoot professional photography and there is some great information here.

        • opatoday profile image

          opatoday 4 years ago

          Thank you for all the love

        • vsajewel profile image

          vsajewel 4 years ago

          Really amazing lens, I've got a lot to learn. Thanx for reading my lenses too!

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Wowzers, I have much to learn and am a point and shoot beginner. So impressively done, thank you for the hours you poured into this excellent teaching. I love your liquid gold picture and took a minute or tow just to enjoy it. Blessed and FB liked.

        • profile image

          inspirationz 4 years ago

          really inspiring article! I can't believe you took that macro water droplet with a point and shoot! amazing! really want to try shooting now!! :D

        • JeffGilbert profile image

          JeffGilbert 4 years ago

          Hey, I keep debating whether to get a dslr or not. this lens was very helpful. Thanks!!!

        • tjmaj1959 profile image

          tjmaj1959 4 years ago

          Great lens. I will bookmark this site. Thanks for all the info.

        • Fox Music profile image

          Fox Music 4 years ago

          Thank you for this remarkable Lens "Beginning Photography from a Point and Shoot to a DSLR!"

        • capriht profile image

          capriht 4 years ago

          I have a Cannon 60D, a good robust camera, I bought it not only for photography but mainly for DSLR Video Recording of which I use allot, watching Gail Tattersal film the final episode of House season 6 with 4 x 5D mark II cameras I fell in love with the notion of filming in DSLR. The 60D is not a full frame camera like the 5 or 6D but it takes great pictures and films in 60fps

        • profile image

          Suunnyy 4 years ago

          This lens is one of the best lenses I came across! Great job :)

        • profile image

          waytomaldives 4 years ago

          very informative. Love the Nikon D800

        • MartieG profile image

          MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

          Just starting my journey into photography-thanks for all the interesting information :>)

        • christmasgiftide profile image

          christmasgiftide 4 years ago

          wow great lens..so much to learn on photography ..Thank you!

        • RawBill1 profile image

          Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

          Great Lens, thanks for the tips. I have a Nikon DSLR these days which I am getting used to slowly, but I used to do most of my "serious" photography back in the 90's with a Pentax SLR. I really want to get back into photography, but just do not have the time. Maybe when I semi retire or something!

        • profile image

          Deadpool 4 years ago

          Great Lens

        • mrdata profile image

          mrdata 4 years ago

          Great lens! Congrats! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Wishing you big success for 2013...:)

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Great lens, squidliked, G+1 and pinned. Have a nice Christmas.

        • kcsantos profile image

          kcsantos 4 years ago

          Thanks for the tips. This lens is very helpful!

        • profile image

          ckdoran 4 years ago

          Wonderful tips! I'll be trying out the tips on nature photography.

        • pretyfunky profile image

          pretyfunky 4 years ago

          what a lens.

        • profile image

          UKMarkWilliam 4 years ago

          Nice one

        • profile image

          BarbaraCasey 4 years ago

          Excellent tutorial and bookmarked for future reference.

        • Art-Aspirations profile image

          Art-Aspirations 4 years ago

          This is a wonderful lens, full of excellent advice. Thanks for taking the time to share from your experience. I graduated from point and click to DSLR a few years ago. Love it.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Very good information and pictures. Very nice work.

        • profile image

          action121 4 years ago

          what u think about sports photography .

          http://www.squidoo.com/action-sports-photography

        • Rockerfella profile image

          Rockerfella 4 years ago

          Great stuff. Check out the photo contest at http://limansionsguide.webs.com

        • rob-hemphill profile image

          Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

          Great lens with so much interesting information. I enjoy the close up world of macro photography,

        • mrsclaus411 profile image

          mrsclaus411 4 years ago

          Great lens. I learned something new today.

        • MissPuppy profile image

          MissPuppy 4 years ago

          This is such an excellent lens! Thanks for sharing it. I stared out with the little point and shoots and they have won me lots of awards and prizes for their photos, so I definitely think that the little point and shoots can take great photos. Now I have a Canon EOS 60D and am having lots of fun with it. :)

        • profile image

          johnsja 4 years ago

          Point and shoot is definitely my method with the camera!

        • JenwithMisty profile image

          Jen withFlash 4 years ago

          Awesome lens!!! Thanks for all the great information!!

        • topflightwebdes profile image

          topflightwebdes 4 years ago

          Excellent Article!

        • profile image

          nifwlseirff 4 years ago

          A fantastic collection of tips and tricks for people just starting out into DSLR photography - thank you!

        • PassionatelyCur profile image

          PassionatelyCur 4 years ago

          This is truly great information! Thank you!

        • lesliesinclair profile image

          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          I have a Pentax K10d and just got the Pentax Q, which is great fun.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          I am using a Nikon 5000SlR (with a 300 mm lens extra) My husband is the main photographer in our house but I am learning. I would still like a bigger lens to capture the birds in the trees.

        • coolaunt profile image

          coolaunt 4 years ago

          There is so much great information on this lens. Very well done.

        • LastDelusion profile image

          LastDelusion 4 years ago

          Really nice info.

          Thanks!

        • profile image

          sailor_man 4 years ago

          Thanks for the info.

        • Rosaquid profile image

          Rosaquid 4 years ago

          Thanks for the informative lens!

        • profile image

          Im2keys 4 years ago

          I have a canon dslr and try to use it the best I can :o) thanks for all the tips!

        • profile image

          pusanggala 4 years ago

          I don't have 1 yet. It's quite expensive lol! But some of my office mates are hooked to DSLRs :D Nice lens by the way, I'd surely get back on this the moment I'd own a cam like this haha=) cheers!

        • kopox profile image

          kopox 4 years ago

          thank you for sharing this kind of information. i love photography since before i bought my own canon camera.

        • RosaMorelli profile image

          RosaMorelli 4 years ago

          Wow, what an in-depth, beautiful Lens. I'm nuts about taking photos and fooling around withthem in photo-editing softwear but my little point-and-shoot died a few months back so I'm stuck with my iPhone camera for now - not bad but not the greatest camera in the world. Hopefully I'll manage to get a really decent camera soon, and then I'll be back to this page to try out all your brilliant ideas :)

        • profile image

          Spikey64 4 years ago

          Great lens. I will definitely tell my friends about this useful resource for photography. Putting down the camera settings was a great touch. Thanks for sharing.

        • Ardyn25 profile image

          Ardyn25 4 years ago

          You've shared some awesome tips and your photography is beautiful. I love photography, but have yet to develop any talent in that area. I baulked pretty heavy at having to get rid of my film camera when our local store quite developing the film...so now I am trying to get used to my little digital. I'm along way off, but these tips will sure help. Thank you!

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Beautiful body of work!

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          My real favourite is Panasonic but we have had a Canon and it was really really good for any kind of image. I never used it but saw the photos taken with it outstanding.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Thanks for sharing such beautiful tips.

        • WriterJanis2 profile image

          WriterJanis2 4 years ago

          Awesome photos. You are so talented. Blessed!

        • Thomo85 profile image

          Thomo85 4 years ago

          This is an amazing lens. I looks forward to carrying it around on my phone to use. I have just bought my first dslr. It is a Nikon d5100. Entry level. I really have no idea how to use it. Thanks do much for the tips.

        • sukkran trichy profile image

          sukkran trichy 4 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

          thanks for sharing useful info and tips.

        • vinodkpillai lm profile image

          vinodkpillai lm 4 years ago

          I like all the cameras that I have used - from the Agfa Isolette with its120 roll film to Canon T2i and 5D Mk2. Now I am using a Canon IXUS 80IS. I must say this is a very nice lens packed with useful ideas and info for anybody with a point and shoot who is passionate about photography. Thanks !

        • John Dyhouse profile image

          John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

          Wow, I have been trying to get away from simple snapshots and learn how to use my camera to advantage. Such great tips and information. Will be bookmarking for future reference. Thanks for your efforts in bringing us this lens - blessed

        • theallin1writer profile image

          theallin1writer 4 years ago

          Love your lens, so much info!

        • Jack2205 profile image

          Jack 4 years ago

          This is an excellent lens.

        • Wayne Rasku profile image

          Wayne Rasku 4 years ago

          Wow, you have a TON of information here. Good stuff, too.

          I am a Canon Rebel fan.. I own the T3i and T4i. While I would like to have the 7D, I feel that I am doing OK with the Rebels. I also have a Panasonic ZS7 which is awesome for a point and shoot. I do believe Panasonic has quality products in the point and shoot category.

        • profile image

          SteveKaye 4 years ago

          Here's a tip: Post a note in the forum asking people to comment on new lenses. There's a section devoted to just this.

        • profile image

          SteveKaye 4 years ago

          I'm using a Canon 7D, which offers a great combination of features.

          Excellent info. Welcome to Squidoo and congratulations on making an excellent first lens.

        • TheBLU26 profile image
          Author

          TheBLU26 4 years ago

          @litbern: Hello litbern! You are my first visitor! :)And thanks for sharing your camera! I myself have a Nikon D90, Canon 7D and a whole lot of point and shoots! :) Photography is awesome I'm sure you will agree!!!

        • profile image

          litbern 4 years ago

          My Favorite camera is the Nikon while on a project/ job, though i have a fuji point and shoot camera i carry with me most of the time. The Nikon DSLR cameras are not too big and not too small - just right :) By the way, great lens, awesome pics. Am into the same kind of photography you do. Way to go :)