Seeing someone with a high powered camera can do something to our psyche. One of which may cause you to tuck your little seemingly unimportant point and shoot into your pocket or purse out of frustration, and maybe even envy.
Today I am going to give you some tips on how to get a good photo with your point and shoot. To further prove my point all photos in this post were taken with my Samsung, under $200 point and shoot that I reviewed here.
LIGHT: Lights. Camera. Action. Come to the liiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Just give me the light. All of that.
Photography exists because of light. Without it you have bad pictures. This is one of the major aspects that put DSLRs on a pedestal. They offer you the ability to control the Photography Triangle, allowing you to take better photos in low light. We won’t be getting into that today. This is all about the point and shoot and your creativity.
Find your light. It can be a window, a lamp, a cell phone…hey it’s all light. When you find the light, assess the situation. At times you will find it is better to put the light behind you so that it is shining on your subject. This can get tricky with sunlight because you may get a squint if its a person but its better than facing the sun and having shadows. When photographing products you may find it better to shine the light down. Being aware of the light and its effects on your subject can help create an amazing image when you learn what works. Play around and see what works best based on what you are photographing.
COMPOSITION: Point and shoot…This is to be taken figuratively, not literally.
It is by habit that we find something we want to photograph, focus and click. Today that stops. Amazing photos are eye catching for a reason. The photographer took a step back to compose the photo in a way that would be flattering. It is human nature to want to put our subject in the middle of the shot but at times that is the worst place. Take out the the time to compose your shot.
The rule of thirds is an important and fairly easy concept to grasp when composing a shot. Ever seen that little grid show up in your camera or phone? Use it. The idea is that you want your subject to fall where the vertical and horizontal lines intersect.
By doing so you are creating an image that is visually appealing. While this is not always possible, when you see the opportunity run with it. Trust me.
POSITION: Positioning is important in our personal lives and I’m here to tell you it is just as important in photography, especially with a point and shoot.
Your average point and shoot has the option to zoom but with that you may find the photo getting a little grainy or losing it’s quality. This is the point where you *gasp* use your legs. Get close, bend down, get on the floor. Get the shot. If your baby is on the floor why are you standing? I’ll wait.
With a P&S it is normal to want to stand a normal distance away, when in reality just taking a few steps closer to the subject will make a difference. I get that there is a standard level of personal space but I say that doesn’t exist in photography. Get as close as you can so that you don’t lose any of your subject while COMPOSING the shot. Cause we are no longer just pointing and shooting..remember?!
If the baby is on the floor get on the floor. Get eye level with the toy they are grabbing, this adds perspective and depth. The photo below isn’t the greatest but it shows the small difference that can be made by composing a shot and playing with the angles. I shot this with the camera looking slightly upward at the vase instead of straight on.
BE PATIENT: Waaaiiiiiiiiiiiit for it!
If you are not trying to just grab a snap shot of the homies during girls night out or catch your child accepting their perfect attendance award, be patient.
Again, those words Point and Shoot get taken literally. Sometimes it should be more like point…..focus….wait…………………..shoot. During this time you may find yourself slightly pressing the shutter to refocus but I urge you to wait on those moments, especially when photographing children. If it looks like they are about to jump, get low, hold your finger on the shutter and at that perfect time hit the shutter button. I’m not saying you will get it right the first time but with practice you will learn how to time those moments. I love action shots so my finger lives on my shutter, I get lots of bad sometimes but when I get the good. Hallelujah!
I hope some of these tips help. On the next installment we’ll talk in depth about using free photo editors to adjust the white balance, crop, etc. Just because it can’t be done in the camera doesn’t mean it can’t be done!