Digital Photography - Point and Shoot Cameras

Pro Tips For Amateur Photographers

Free Tutorials For Point And Shoot Cameras

How Tos For Great Photo Shots

Leisure and Travel - Get Creative With Your Photos

Taking photos while travelling is a must - sightseeing attractions, and interesting landscapes, architecture; all things you like to have photos of while your exploring the world or your local photo taking opportunities. While point and shoot cameras provide many preset auto modes for capturing most things we may want to photograph, there are times when you may want to be more creative with the photos you shoot.

Amateur Photographers

As amateur photographers, most of us don't know about the many creative methods and composition techniques used by professional photographers. Many of these methods and techniques can also be used when shooting photos using your compact point and shoot camera.

The difference between the two types of cameras is not the composition techniques or creative methods; but more to do with additional camera features, for example, the DSLR camera has; Manual Modes for Shutter, Aperture, ISO, and the choice of lenses you can add; like telephoto and wide angle, the faster shutter speeds you can shoot with, faster processing sensors, and also, the ability to edit your shots after they have been taken.

Professional photographers have honed their craft by many hours of practice, more practice, which over time, has skilled them in their profession. This, together with their own added creativeness, is what makes each photographers` photographs unique.
The good news is that novice and amateur photograhers can become as skilled by learning these same methods and techniques.

These Easy Photography Tutorials and Tips will Provide You with Many Of the Techniques and Methods Used by Professional Photographers

for Point and Shoot Cameras

Settings on point and shoot cameras, that can affect your photo shots are: shutter speed, ISO, distance from subject,(aperture), white balance, flash vs no flash: all important, and all adjustable....on point and shoot cameras -

...costing around $145-$225...Some less expensive point and shoot cameras may not have as many manual features, and therefore, would not allow for as much creativity in photo taking, as it pertains to some of our photography tutorials.

In particular, you might look for features such as: long (slow) shutter speed, usually in increments of 15, 30, or 60 secs look for Starry Sky mode; and 1- 15 secs in Long Shutter mode; (you can actually adjust yourself) many Canon point and shoots have the 1-15 secs, and Panasonic Lumix cameras have the Starry Sky modes. Night mode available on most point and shoots is a shutter delay of 1 or 2 seconds(depends on camera make) and Fireworks mode delay for 2-3 seconds good for fireworks and also night time slow shutter shots; Adjustable ISO settings are also commonplace on most point and shoots; 100-800 or 100-1600 is most common; while some have to 3200. Exposure compensation,(EV+-) easy to adjust as well; usually 1/3 stops, look for - + symbols on your camera menu buttons; mostly on all cameras.

Another worth mention is the white balance AWB, this is usually auto presets, like Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Candescent, Custom White Balance, and most cameras have these. All these features mentioned are important when composing your shot because they allow you to be creative with the lighting, color, and exposure in your photos.

A manual `fast shutter`, is not usually a feature in this price range of point and shoot cameras, however most do have `sports` mode which allows for auto fast shutter speed for action photos(usually at speeds of 1-125,1-250, 1-500, of a second) - as well, your ISO, at higher settings than 100 can increase shutter speed and therefore can be used to get more shutter speed required for taking action shots.

A manual 'aperture', is not usually a feature found in this pricing of point and shoot cameras; however, for point and shoot cameras zooming your lens out does change the aperture settings for you automatically. Example when your camera is not zoomed it may have an aperture of f3.4, and when you zoom it to its available length, it may have an aperture of f6.1.
Aperture refers to the amount of light that is let into the camera sensor when taking a photo. No zooming allows for greatest amount of light into the sensor while zooming to the extent allowed for your camera would allow the least amount of light into the camera sensor. On most cameras you can view the aperture f number(example f3.4,f3.6,f11) as soon as you press the shutter button half way to focus your shot; and also the ISO number(example 100,400,800,1600), and shutter speed(example 30,60,80,125,250).

Flash & Direct Lighting

Point and shoot cameras have flash, and you can choose to either have it ON or OFF for each photo taken.
Most professionals photographers will say that flash should only be used as a last resort. And, the reason is that natural light is much better for photo composition.

Let's assume some examples: if you take a photo indoors night time with flash, it tends to light the subject only, leaving the background mostly dim and black. However, if you instead use your ISO, (try 200, 400 and increase from there if needed) and not the flash, the same photo will light your subject and provide light in the background which creates a better photo overall. Same can be applied for daytime indoor shots; if more light is needed try increasing your ISO setting, instead of using flash automatically, and see which produces a more appealing photo.

If you must use flash, try to use it sparingly - again, opt for natural light where possible. This will create softer tones and an overall better photograph. Natural light is the best for photography.

How To Deflect A Light Source

Deflecting a light source is easy to achieve - just allow the light to shine onto a ceiling, wall, background, and then deflect to the subject of the photo being taken. Professional photographers do the same; they use professional grade reflectors, and 'soft boxes'. With a Softbox; light is encased within a 'box', with a diffuser over top of the softbox, and this diffuses and softens the light source, which in turn creates softer tones onto the subject of the photo shoot. Reflectors simply deflect or reflect the light onto the direction required by positioning the Reflector so that it redirects or bounces light onto the Photo Subject.

Harhness from direct lighting is usually more visible on photos taken indoors; shooting like portraits, food, and the like. Using the deflect method to send the light gives a more softer natural lighting to the photo.

These 2 photos show examples of different lighting and how insufficient lighting can make a photo unappealing. The first was shot with a direct and insufficient light source, which doesn't make the squares look very appetizing.
The second photo was shot in natural light at windows edge. The natural light provides a much better light source and this makes for a nicer photo shot.

Natural Lighting Is Better

Best place to shoot is next to windows or areas that allow for natural light into your photo shoot area. Avoid direct sunlight though, as this can cause unwanted photo results. Shoot with shaded or semi bright natural light sources whenever you can if your shooting indoors for food, people or pet portraits.

If your shoot is a more involved production, and taking more time,(ie more shots or reshoots), you may want to consider a Softbox or other studio lighting source. The reason being that natural light does change consistently; so if your shoot is for an extended time frame, and you need the exact same lighting for the entirety of your shoot, then Studio Lighting may be a better choice.

If your new to photography, the best lighting source is a Softbox with Continuous Lighting. This means your Softbox takes a light bulb but it's a photography light bulb. They are made especially for Photography Lighting. Their cost depends on the wattage you buy; usually in the $15-$25 range for 1 bulb, and you can buy deal packs of them to save a few bucks. They have a life rating of 8000-10000 hours. They are usually eco friendly and cool bulbs. They don't get really hot like a standard household bulb.

There a few more types of lighting you can use, but generally they are more expensive for the same equivalent of a Softbox Continuous Light source. Common are the Led Video lights, Strobe Lights and Mono Flash Lights. Led light rings are also getting more popular, although they are also pricey.

For photographing small items like jewellery; you can buy Photography Tent Kits, which include the tent and the lighting; usually one light for either side of the tent. The lights shine through the tent material, thus the light gets diffused and appears softer on the product your shooting.

To read more about Lighting Sources and Using a Softbox, GoTo our Tutorial: Portrait Shots: Section Portrait Shots - The Basics

How Much Lighting Do I Need For A Photo - Reading the Exposure Graph

Each lighting situation is different, depending on what you want to achieve with your photo, but generally speaking, you need enough lighting around the photo subject, so it looks well exposed. Most cameras have a 'Exposure Graph Grid' which shows the exposure of your shots. On Canon point and shoots, you can view it by clicking the DISP button after shooting your photo.

Most times your keen eye can tell if a photo is over and under exposed, and by viewing the Display(DISP), once you shoot a photo,the exposure of it is shown in a graph like grid. This can be helpful if you're not sure of the exposure of your photograph; and can be especially useful in situations where you only have one shot. With the exposure graph grid, you pre shoot your shot, check the exposure, then make adjustments if you need to - before the final shot.

Generally, the exposure graph grid, shows like a mountain and more or less centered in the frame when your photo is properly exposed like shown in this photo.

Also, for example, you have too much dark in your photo, then the left side of the grid will have a mountain peak, and if your over exposed or there is too much light in your photo then the very right side of the grid shows more mountain peaks. If your mountain is hovering more in the middle of the grid, then your photos has a good exposure.

And, at times, you will also take good photos; where this exposure graph grid, will show as over or under exposed. This is possible in photos where perhaps you have a night time photo, or your creating a photo specifically with more light or dark areas.

The exposure grid makes it easier to understand not only your exposure results; it also shows your shutter speed, aperture, ISO, WB, (white balance), flash (symbol if flash was fired), and Mode the camera was in like P (for program mode) - Portrait mode, Macro Mode. For this photo taken, the shutter was 1/8 second, the aperture was 9 -f9, the ISO was at 100, the white balance was at 'cloudy', the flash was fired, and the light metering was at 'evaluate' mode. If you have taken a lot of photos, your not likely to remember details of how you shot them all, especially if you used different composition and exposure setting. The exposure graph is a good camera feature for quickly getting a shot's specifics; and a useful feature to look for when shopping for your next point and shoot camera.

Another way to check your lighting is by using a Light Meter. These are used before you take your shot to measure the light for your scene. These are hand held, and easy to use. Basically you hold the meter next to where you subject will be sitting or standing and then get a reading for the light required. Prices range from $40, and they are priced according to the features they have included. You can also use your cell phone as a Light Meter. Android has many free and paid ones to choose from. To read more about Light Meters, Go to our Tutorial Portrait Shots: Section Buying a Light Meter - Get One For Free.

Professional Photographers

Professional photographers, apply all these rules of lighting, and, they usually have expensive equipment from Softboxes, Strobe Lights, Reflectors, and the like. With a continuous Light Softbox, you can take Professional Photos of Food, People, and Pets.

Next Article: Why Use A Tripod

All Articles The Exposure Triangle

Learn The Rules Of Composition

Digital Camera Filters

Creating Misty Smooth Water

Techniques: Shutter and Aperture

How To Create Motion Blur

Portrait Shots - The Basics

Portraits - Lighting Scenarios

Portraits - Tips For Shots

How To Pose Food Shots

Food Shots - Keep It Fresh

Food Shots - Composition
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