57+ Photography tips for compact cameras ( point and shoot )
All images in this article made with compact point and shoot cameras, this one made with a Fuji S8000 fd superzoom camera
If you start photography and has no idea where you start, this article is for you. This is like a Photography 101 or ABC for photography as I see it. These tips for broaden your perspective how you can create interesting images. Apart from compact cameras you can use it most of them on any camera.
This is dedicated for my awesome g+ followers as well, as one of them inspired this article.
I. General tips 1-2
II. Usage tips 3-8
III. Composition 9-15
IV. Themes 16-33
V. Technique 34-54
VI. Meaning 55-57
VII. Camera controls 58-
VIII. Post processing tips 60-
I. General tips, perhaps the most important ones
These are the most useful tricks, in order to improve.
1. Try to visualize any picture before you take them.
This is the main trick, just for you:). Think about the picture before you take them or “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” as Ansel Adams said. You can find someone else’s photograph and try to figure out how is it taken.
2. Think about your pictures and how you take them.
The photograph is not really looks like as we see with our eyes. The really light parts of the image usually burn out, dark parts lacks details, pictures are not 3D like as wee see, but more 2D like. Some time is required to learn how your camera works, and what can kinds of results you can expect in certain situations and act accordingly.
II. Usage tips
Photography is connected to the camera. Either a film camera, digital camera or smartphone is needed. No camera no picture. But even a missing memory card can lead to the same result.
3. Put the camera in your pocket every time.
Some compact cameras (ultrazoom or bridge) not pocketable, most of them pocketable (travel zooms also has wide range but has slim lenses).
4. If you travel somewhere do not leave your camera at home.
I learnt this lesson many times. You are there at the perfect place in the perfect situation with the perfect subject but no camera. Can be really frustrating.
5. Bring your camera with you everyday, and make photos of every interesting thing, or everything.
This tip is perhaps not for everybody, but if you like to learn, improve, exercise as much as you can. Make pictures of everything. Most of them end up in a garbage, but some of the will be a keeper.
6. Charge batteries
No explanation needed I think, same can happen if you have the camera but cannot use it.
7. Extra battery and memory cards
One more tricky thing if you remove the battery cards for some reason check if it is there. What I usually do before leave, make some pictures to see if there is any problem, or anything missing. The extra batteries and memories help in case of any failure.
8. If you want to grow in your quality get rid of photographs you don’t like.
Select the best ones and learn from them. “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Ansel Adams
“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” Ansel Adams
9. Use the rule of thirds for composition.
(Put the main subject in the 1/3rd of the frame in both directions, put the horizont there as well
either upwards or downwards).
10. In some aspect there are 2 types of photographs
a wide one (for example a city panorama) and a detail
(for example a statue, parts of building facades, etc). Try to master in both of them.
11. Think about a foreground a main subject and a backround as well.
12. Try different angles
One of my favorite perspective is low angles (around ground level), but try to climb up to higher places to take photos from there, try to imagine before how these photograps would look like. You can experiment with a flower for example. Use different shooting angles, different zoom ratios, wider and longer shots.
13. Use different zoom ratios for longer periods.
Try to use a given angle for longer period to learn about it.
14. Try to fill the frame, go close.
15. Find the highest point in your city/neighborhood and take pictures from there.
In my case it is the Gellert hill and Buda hills in Budapest. It is always a good experience to go there. If you leave in a flat city you can find a tall building or a hill in the neighborhood.
Most cases the theme determine our success in photography. If we start at the wrong subject no way to have the preferred end result.
16. Search for interesting subjects.
Travel is almost always needed. My best photographs were taken not where I live. But it depends where you live.
17. Take lots of sunsets photos, and photos of the sky, when the sky is interesting.
Even with the most basic camera sunsets can be spectacular.
18. Try the get the most out of every season
(tree foliage in Fall, snow in winter, birds in Spring and migration) if you have seasons. Obviously cannot make pictures of snow in summer. Every season has a speciality, get the most of it you can. Flowers bloom in spring, summer is nice on the beaches, in fall the trees can have different colored foliage, etc.
19. You can creatively can use reflecting surfaces like mirrors, metal sheets or water surfaces.
Even can make a nice photo from a bubble. Mirrors, metals sheets all gives some creativity. Water ponds can be used as well after the rain.
20. Take pictures of campfire, candle light, fireworks, xmas lights.
These thing are usually very interesting on a photo. Tripod perhaps needed.
21. Take pictures of different roads.
Roads can look nice.
22. Try to capture events, like concerts, festivals, sports events.
Especially helpful if you want to live from photography.
23. Find interesting themes in architecture.
Architecture is an Art, you can have some inspiration from here as well. Interesting forms, shapes, colors.
24. Water is usually very nice on the photographs in any form
Most of my keepers include water or have takes around water.
25. Photograph cats and dogs.
Baby cats and dogs are especially cute.
26. Photograph babies.
Babies are simply fantastic.
27. Try to include stars or the moon in your photos.
You can use this planets creatively as well to form part of your composition.
28. Experiment with forms.
Different circles, rectangles or 3D shapes can give your creativity.
29. Make portraits with traffic lights in the far backround.
Usually if we lucky these lights can form interesting background highlights on the picture.
30. Flowers, trees, cat, dog, wildlife, babies, old people, abandoned buildings are good themes for your photos.
And there are many more, it depends only on your imagination.
31. You can play with silhouettes in backlight situation.
At sunset silhouttes offer creative opportunities, if you don’t want silhouettes fill with the flash.
32. Try to fill a picture only with light.
Interesting experiment but you can learn lot from it.
33. Try to fill a picture with shadows.
Dark pictures can have a special feel. You can also leave a little light somewhere, to experiment with it.
34. Search for light on the scene, which are the brightest parts ?
Try to figure out always which are the brightest part what you see, these are the best for your camera. Try to combine light with something interesting.
35. Search for contrast on the scene.
Contrast give life to your pictures. Dark and light parts of your pictures equally important.
36. Use portrait position as well.
(When the camera is rotated 90 degrees) In some cases works really well, not just for portraits.
37. Try to make pictures when the sun shines parallel to the ground.
This can results your finest images. Light parallel with water also very interesting.
38. You can use camera flash to fill light in backlit portraits
Backlight can give a nice feel for hair, but then the face is in a shadow. In very bright situation not works, because of
flash synch speed.
39. Think about light directions and shadows as well.
Light rays are very good to your photography and shadows also can be part of your composition.
40. Try to make pictures close to the water
A simple trick, close to the water hold the camera a smaller angle relative to the water surface.
41. For landscapes find the best places and positions for shooting.
Where you stand is very important, especially with ultra wide angle lenses.
42. Try to make a blurred picture, which you like for some reason.
Interesting experiment. Blurred photos show motion, and give an extra expression to the photo.
43. Use a tripod or some kind of support for landscapes.
44. Try Black and white
45. Think about different colors and ways how you can use them on your pictures.
46. Practice to take many photos and learn from them
47. Try scene modes
48. Take photographs of colorful subjects
49. Take pictures when the sun is parallel to the ground.
Golden hours as it is called at sunrise and sunset. I guess sunset is much more popular.
50. Try to blur the background using your camera lens longest telephoto setting and put the subject as close to the camera as possible. Experiment with this.
51. If your camera has exposure compensation try to make high key (slightly overxposed, too bright) or low key(darker) images. In some cameras these modes
can be accessed in preset modes.
52. Experiment with light and shadows on the same picture.
53. Experiment with colors. Concentrate on one color at a time.
You can put a red rose on a BW photo for example.
54. Prefocusing can be useful, half press the shutter release button and the camera prefocusing.
This makes your camera faster.
VI. Meaning or meaningful photos
I start photography for fun, but after some time you want to express something with your photographs as well, this can be a simple feeling like joy, sadness, inspiration, awe, but can be more complex content as well as friendship, marriage, and many other things. One of my favorite game to think about something you want to express and create a picture for that.
55. Try to tell a story with your photo.
The story can be anything, how you tell it also interesting.
56. Try to capture or express emotions with your images.
Not as easy as you may think, but with some tricks not really hard either.
57. Make pictures which represent a city, district, river, lake, etc.
Symbolic shots are interesting.
VII. Camera controls
58. Experiment with camera settings and learn your camera very well.
59. If your camera has a macro mode use it for flowers, insects, waterdrops and any other tiny objects.
These can be your best photos.
VIII. Post processing
60. Post process your images with the free Gimp, Photoshop or Lightroom software.
If the photo is very weak can be because of overexposing. This typically can happen in the forest if we measure light at a dark object. The photo will be too light. To help this we can use curves function in Gimp or Photoshop/Lightroom.
Other thing if the contrast is weak which is also correctable in post processing.
Sharpening can be made with many programs, which also can help.
Three things cannot be corrected:
a, wrong autofocusing/manual focusing
b, burnt out or too dark details
c, totally blurred photo because low shutter speed
If a photo is not working due to the following reasons:
a, the subject is not really interesting (most cases)
How to create a really successful photo ?
Easy success with compact cameras
The following situations where you can have a quick and relatively easy success:
Which compact camera should I buy ?
First if you serious about photography and can afford a Dslr forget compact cameras. You can get a Dslr with a kit lens for 300 USD/EUR or even less.
I would buy a Canon or Nikon Dslr. No compact camera rival with a Dslr. But if you don’t want to mess around camera settings perhaps better served with a compact point and shoot.
There are three categories of point and shoot cameras: normal compact, travel zoom, and ultrazoom cameras. The first two is pocketable. The normal compact camera usually has max 5x zoom range, but can have brighter lens than the lenses of the other two categories.
Travel zoom cameras can have 30x zoom range, while ultrazooms can have even 83x zoom range.
Best compact camera today is the Sony RX 100 III according to my opinion. Perhaps the IV version is out there too.
Canon and Panasonic cameras in the travelzoom ultrazoom segment are the best.
Most interesting ultrazoom is the Nikon p900 with its 2000mm, 83x zoom lens but it is very expensive.
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