Everyone wants to take professional photos as professional photographers do, however most of us can’t do that since we don’t have their professional equipment. Actually this is a kind of misconception that to take perfect photo you need an SLR camera. I only possess a point and shoot digital camera and I have made some common mistakes over the past years. When I learned how to take better photos with a point and shoot camera, I realized that if you can avoid the mistakes, you don’t really need an SLR. Here are some of my top tips for taking perfect photos with a point and shoot digital camera.
1. Turn off the digital zoom.
My first tip is you should turn off the digital zoom. Most modern point and shoot digital cameras come with a digital zoom and an optical zoom (usually around 3x) in the same time. A line on the zoom bar can be noticed that when you switch from optical zoom to digital zoom. The fact is the pictures can look very bad when they are taken in digital zoom mode. The worst thing is snapping one perfect action shot and realizing you were zoomed in too far and now the image is all pixilated with horrible looking. To zoom further an image, you can do that afterwards with the help from editing programs and even better results can be obtained. The best way to get rid of digital zoom is to turn off in the setting so that you won’t occasionally use that feature.
2. Don’t overlook marco mode.
For point and shoot digital camera, marco mode is one of the useful but usually under-used features. You can get some extremely good close up shots using the marco mode and don’t quite need an expensive D-SLR to do that. What you need to pay attention here, is making sure your focus is sharp on the object that you are zooming in on. In ideal cases, the background would be out of focus, but probably try playing around so that it’s in focus and your foreground is blurred. You may need some practice to master this setting, however, you can get much better photos while just fooling around with setting.
3. Be more careful when you use the flash.
When you are taking pictures in a dark room, it makes sense that you use the flash. However, doing that can make the pictures look flan and washed out. Instead, you can always try to adjust the exposure and increase the lighting in the room. If it is a must to use the flash, please make sure you don’t get too close to the subject.
4. Sometimes it’s really dark, so turn on the flash, but with caution.
Apparently, sometimes it will be very dark, for example when you are at a party or in a dark space, and then you must turn on the flash. You are highly suggested to shade your background and make your foreground characters light. To do so, you can use the prefocus (holding your shutter button down, but not all the way so that is snaps a shot) and meter for the foreground and the background and latch on to where you’d like to flash to focus on.
5. Timer and tripod are good friends to steady photography.
When you are taking longer exposure shots, you need to ensure that the camera stays steady and even your finger press can move the camera slightly. Under this circumstance, you can use the timer with a tripod or flat surface to get the best result. Just set the camera, experiment with exposures, set the timer and you are good to go!
6. Practice makes perfect.
Nowadays, digital camera memory is very cheap and there is no excuse that you don’t have at least one or two 2GB memory cards on hand. Practice taking photos is always the best way to get the perfect pictures. You can try different exposures, positions, lighting and effects on the same shot to compare which combination works best. By doing this, you can always pick up a better photo from ten rather than just take one.
7. Try different angles.
Different angle means a different view and scene. The average person takes a photo from 5 feet tall and you don’t want to be average. If you are standing still or comfortably, you are doing something wrong in photo taking. A good tip is you get lower on the ground, stand on some objects or just place your point and shoot camera on some platform. Then, a unique photo is born!
*Image source: http://www.sync-blog.com/sync/2011/08/4-reasons-why-a-point-and-shoot-camera-may-be-a-better-choice-than-a-dslr.html.