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!