ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Take Better Photographs With Easy to Use Point and Shoot Cameras

Updated on March 18, 2015


Domestic duck on water
Domestic duck on water | Source

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.

If you want to know which are the best easy to use cameras just check out HERE.

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.

White Duck

The little white duck called Smudge
The little white duck called Smudge | Source

Top Tip to Better Photography: Get Down

  1. 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.

Take a minute to take the poll

What kind of photos do you like to take?

See results


Amaryllis in the window
Amaryllis in the window | Source

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.


Close up of an Amaryllis
Close up of an Amaryllis | Source

Best Canon point and shoot camera

St Andrews Cathedral Scotland

St Andrews Cathedral
St Andrews Cathedral | Source

St Andrews Cathedral

framed shot of St Andrews Cathedral spoiled by metal grating on the left
framed shot of St Andrews Cathedral spoiled by metal grating on the left | Source

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

Wisteria Walk Harrogate West Yorkshire England
Wisteria Walk Harrogate West Yorkshire England | Source

© 2014 annmackiemiller

Have you learned anything new? Please leave a note when you visit.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Nice material! Glad that you got to take a photo course.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 3 years ago

      I never remember to use the built-in closeup view. I love my Panasonic Lumix and I appreciate your reminder to use more of its features(!)

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      I've learned a few things from your article. I take quite a few photos standing. I will practice with the native wildlife (i.e. my Jack Russell Terrier) to see how the photos come out if I take them from her level. Thank you for the tips!

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I used to use a 35mm and got some great shots. When I moved on to digital, I still got great shots, but I haven't had the time to figure out how to use all of the other features. You've motivated me to charge up the battery and start playing around with it so I can get better photos.