Guest Post: Getting the Most from Your Point-and-Shoot Camera
Cameras have come quite a long way in the past few decades; digital cameras allow you to conveniently capture memorable events and more. In order to help you get the most out of your point-and-shoot camera, we consulted Kevin Becker of Allée Photography. Allée Photography is a preferred vendor of Garden of the Gods Club and winner of numerous national and international awards for photography. We hope these tips from Allée Photography are helpful!
With the number of inexpensive yet powerful cameras on the market these days, it’s easy to have a good camera close at hand to capture life’s moments; however, few people use their point-and-shoot camera to the max. Maybe that’s the way it should be; after all, when it’s called “point-and-shoot,” that should be all you need to know, right? In reality, the number of features built into today’s small cameras require a little more exploring.
Learn All It Can Do
As with any new device, the best thing you can do is to spend some time reading the manual to become familiar with the controls and what they are intended to do. You may find that the maximum resolution, or number of megapixels, is not set to the max by default. In order to get the best quality image, you will want to set your camera to the maximum resolution.
Likewise, there are various quality settings that control the compression of your image when it’s converted to a JPEG. We recommend that you shoot as most professional photographers do, which is in RAW format. Although this format uses no compression at all, it does require more work with the image file after the fact. (The “post-processing” of an image can be equally as important as the capture but is beyond the scope of this short blog post.)
When shooting landscapes or buildings, the quality of a point-and-shoot can rival the results of their more sophisticated cousins, the single-lens-reflex cameras, or “slurs,” which cost a great deal more. Shooting portraits in natural light can also be quite satisfying when you pay close attention to the direction from which the light is coming and position your subject accordingly.
In low light or at night, however, point-and-shoot images that rely on the built-in flash may appear washed out or flat due to their reliance on direct flash. Most professional photographers will use direct flash only for fill light (when the main light is coming from another source) or as a last resort to illuminate an image, and they are far more likely to use indirect lighting from light sources that are separate from the camera’s built-in flash. As a matter of fact, most professional-level cameras don’t have a built-in flash at all.
Once you have read the manual and understand the photography situations for which your camera is best-suited, just keep it handy and shoot away. There is nothing like practice to get comfortable with your camera and all of its capabilities. Keep the manual close at hand, and don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment. Sometimes your mistakes can lead you to new heights of creativity. Share your images on Facebook, and join the many photography forums where folks are looking to expand their knowledge and expertise in photography.
And Sometimes… Put It Away
There are many places where you can use your point-and-shoot, or your SLR, if you have decided to take a real plunge–but there are also times when you are better off putting it away and living in the moment. Wedding ceremonies are one such place. We see more and more couples actually setting a “no cameras, please” rule for their wedding ceremonies, and for good reason. When the proliferation of cameras makes a wedding ceremony look more like a press conference or a Britney Spears concert than the special, beautiful day it should be, then things have gone a bit too far. We’ve seen guests roam around during ceremonies with their cameras, getting in the aisle, holding their cameras high in the air, and getting in the way of the professionals hired to capture the day. Professional photography is not inexpensive, and when you consider that the bridal couple has paid a professional to capture their priceless memories, then what better way to show your respect for the couple than to put your camera away and just enjoy the event.You can always pull it out later for those fun pictures on the dance floor!