Easy Ways to Get Stunning Photographs from Your Point-and-Shoot

by Guest Author on March 5, 2011

in Guest Posts, Photo Tips, Tricks & Techniques

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Maybe a DSLR camera is out of your price range, or maybe you are too intimidated by the myriad of knobs, buttons, and lenses that come with shooting with such a camera. Or then again, maybe you simply do not want to lug your prized camera to your son’s muddy soccer game, but still want to shoot beautiful photographs worth framing. Luckily, you don’t have to have a fancy camera to take good pictures. With a few tricks, you can get stunning photographs from even your simplest point-and-shoot camera.

Turn off that flash. An on-camera flash, as all point-and-shoots feature, is typically only good at two things: eliminating the background when you’re in a low-lit place and washing out the faces of those closest to the camera. While the flash is practical and necessary in some cases, the light is also typically harsh and unflattering, so instead, try to shoot without flash as often as possible to better capture how things truly look. If your pictures are coming out too dark without flash, try bumping up your camera’s exposure value. This will allow more light into the camera as it snaps the photo, making previously darkened scenes brighter and clearer. However, keep in mind that movement is typically not captured well when you are in a low-light environment and shooting without flash, so if you want a motion shot such as one of your child jumping into the air for joy shoot it in a well-lit place without flash to eliminate blurriness.

Sit your camera on something steady. As mentioned previously, shooting without flash has the unfortunate side effect of making your camera more sensitive to movement. This means that if you have anything less than a surgeon-caliber steady hand, your photos may come out blurry instead of crisp. Try to sit your camera on a steady surface when snapping photographs, such as on a wall railing, your propped-up knee, or better yet, on a tripod. This will ensure that all shakiness and blurriness are eliminated. You can even use the camera’s two-second self-timer to really make sure that the camera won’t suffer from any shaking that could be caused by your finger pressing the shutter button.

Shoot in natural light whenever you can. Go outside to snap your photos, and get as many as you can when the sun is in the optimal position bright enough to light everything up, but not so bright to where everyone is squinting. In good natural light, even your automatic flash will not deploy because there is enough light to capture everything without flash. Fast movements can be captured perfectly without flash when you are in a well-lit place, and the added bonus of using natural light rather than artificial light is that natural light tends to be more flattering and true to colors than artificial light.

Play with your camera’s automatic focus. Most point-and-shoots will automatically focus on the subject that is the closest to the lens. However, there may be times when you do not necessarily want that object to be the only thing in focus. To combat this, put whatever you want your camera to focus on in the center of the camera. Halfway press down the shutter button so that your camera will “lock” onto that subject. Then, with your finger still half-pressed on the button, recompose your picture to how you want it to be. Press down the button all the way and you’ll have a perfectly composed and focused picture.

Finally, read your camera’s manual to fully take advantage of some neat features. Point-and-shoot cameras typically get a bad reputation because most users do not bother to read through the camera manual to learn all of the things that the cameras can do. Take the time to flip through your camera’s booklet and try out some of the features your camera comes loaded with, such as different shooting settings, ISO settings, and even color saturation settings. Your camera can do much more than you may realize!

This guest post was submitted by Katheryn Rivas, who regularly writes for online universities. Questions and comments can be sent to: katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen March 6, 2011 at 15:37

I’ve always turned my flash off when using my camera, it certainly makes a difference, photos always look stacks better with natural light and your right about the exposure, it’s better to change that than have a rather fake looking light in a photo 😉
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Ron March 8, 2011 at 06:55

Me, I always set my Olympus point and shoot camera into automatic in terms of flash. So the camera itself decides whether to give that flash or not. And thanks for reminding me to read my camera manual for best results hehe.
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Patrick Murphy March 8, 2011 at 10:57

Photography is one of my favorite hobbies. As u said i don’t like using flash while taking photos. I like natural lighting. I m more into wildlife photography and i really found your article to be helpful. Thanks buddy!

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Paul Tech March 9, 2011 at 01:58

You are right about a steady prop for the camera in low light setting. You also can’t point and shoot as fast… any movement will result in smeared images.
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Delena Silverfox March 9, 2011 at 12:24

I love my point-and-shoot! It’s a Nikon Coolpix (don’t know the model number) and I am in love with it. I sat and read through the manual and found out some really fantastic things that it does that I never would have figured out on my own. It even has a video feature, so I can get up to fifteen minutes of footage. Great for putting stuff on YouTube featuring my daughter, so her grandparents can enjoy it too.

I didn’t know about different focus features, though. I’ll have to look into that, because I thought I was just limited to whatever was closest.

Delena

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Luke Roxas March 10, 2011 at 05:57

Having good photos for me is cool and it depends on what camera you’re using. For me, it’s good to use DLSR cameras for better looking photos.

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Kimi March 10, 2011 at 13:58

Indeed Digital SLR cameras are more expensive but also have more features.

But if we are new to photography, its better to use some affordable cameras and then if we are good enough, we can save money to get the DSRLR one.

Thanks
Kimi recently posted… Canon EOS Rebel T3i Review Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera and DIGIC 4 Imaging with EF-S 18-55mm f-35-56 IS Lens

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Patricia L. Pierre June 15, 2011 at 17:33

These tips are just great! DSLR cameras really capture beautiful photos but is really too expensive. As a newbie wanting to take photos on the fly, I will put these tips in mind when capturing unforgettable moment. Thanks again.

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nage June 3, 2012 at 19:55

Oh gosh!
been dreaming of having that gadget.
So in loved with its fine finish.
Digital DLSR cameras still my best opts.

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