How to Take Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera


Kathy Wilson, who writes for Ontario Photography Colleges, contacted me asking if she could write a short photography related article for my blog. And here it is. Thanks Kathy.

We love the word “instant” these days – it makes life so much easier for most of us. And so we have instant coffee, instant noodles, instant photographs and so on. While true connoisseurs of these items would cringe at their bastardization – anyone who has used a sophisticated camera would definitely turn their nose down at a basic point and shoot digital model – for the rest of us who belong to the plebian community, we’re just happy that even we can be excellent photographers. Yes, it’s true – if you know a few tricks of the trade, you can take great pictures with your digital camera:

  • Get the exact picture that you want: When you’re photographing a moving person, you find that it’s hard to get the exact picture you want – the picture on your screen is usually one that captures the scene that occurred a few seconds later than when you pressed the button. The problem with point and shoot, automatic digital cameras is that they come with a fixed aperture and exposure. There is also considerable shutter lag – the time between you clicking the shot and the picture being captured on the internal chip, which is why your photo does not turn out the way you imagined. You can get around this by focusing on your target a few minutes before you really want the shot and keeping the shutter button half pressed. This locks in the exposure and aperture, and when the target is in the right pose, press the button fully. This reduces the shutter lag and you get the picture you want.
  • Use lighting and positions correctly: The quality of your pictures depends on the amount of light available and the angle of the shot. Ensure that you shoot in daylight with the source of light behind you. The best part about point and shoot cameras is that they allow you to take as many shots as you want as you experiment in getting the light right. And to get the angle right, change positions according to the subject. When photographing children and animals, get down to their level so that the photos are more focused on the subject. And when you want close ups of small objects, use the macro mode which is available in even the simplest of cameras today.
  • Hold steady: If your pictures are shaky and grainy, it’s because you didn’t have steady hands when you clicked the shot. To take good pictures, hold the camera with both hands and ensure that you don’t shake or move it until you hear the whirring of the shutter button stop. Very often, most amateurs move the camera once they’ve pressed the button. Also, use the optical zoom to get close up shots of people and other subjects – get a simple point and shoot camera that has a high optical zoom to get good pictures.

This article is written by Kathy Wilson, who writes on the subject of Online Photography Colleges . She can be reached at her email id:  kathywilson1983@gmail.com .

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3 Responses to How to Take Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera

  1. That first tip for P&S cameras will probably save a few of them from being trashed. It’s second nature to do that with an SLR class camera for composing a photo but even more so for a P&S user. It will save a lot of angst.

    I will add another tip…PRACTICE! The best way to be prepared is to know your camera well and it’s better to do that when there is now pressure. So, when you need to make a quick exposure, you won’t have to jumble around for a button or setting. Oh, and have fun!!!!!!!

    • davecandoit says:

      Thanks Scott.

      Here’s my list (which also includes your points):

      Practice #1: Like they say, practice makes perfect. Get off the couch. Pay attention to events around town that might make a good photography outing. Consider the seasons, as each lends something to photography. How about your city’s landmarks (like Toronto’s CN Tower). We all have them, right?

      Practice #2: Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Always trying something new, be it a new subject or a new perspective. If you find yourself always attracted to wide angle landscape photography, take a stab at portrait or street shots, for instance.

      Practice #3: When composing a shot, consider where other photographers might have stood or what angle they might have shot. Try to find a new and interesting way to capture a scene or subject. The path less taken can result in something unique.

      Settings: Learn your camera’s settings inside and out. Don’t just rely on the auto setting.

      Editing: Either buy or download photo editing software and learn how to use it. Youtube is a great place to find tutorials on the more popular photo editing programs. Google offers a free downloadable photo editing app called “Picasa 3.”

      Reading: Create a bookmarks folder for photography and bookmark various tutorial sites, then learn from them at your leisure. Also, there are many great books that explain the fundamentals of photography. If you are serious about growing out of the typical snapshot, then these books will be of great help.

      Sharing: Join a photography forum or two and post your photos for others to critique. You’ll quickly learn what’s working and what’s not, and why.

      Photography Club: Every city has at least one photography club. Here in Toronto we have many. I haven’t bothered joining one yet, but I think it’s a great idea. Once I have a proper camera I’ll join one.

      Blogging: Start a blog to share your photos with the world.

      But above all, have fun with it. There’s no cost to digital photography so don’t be afraid to shoot anything and everything.

  2. Simple, interesting, and straight-to-the-point. Cheers!

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