Aug 31, 2009

Five Tips: Point-and-Shoot Photography...

...What I Wish I Would Have Known.

Lately, I've been a little bit obsessed with photography. If you're around me, I'm sure you have noticed this. I apologize to those who have gotten tired of me snapping pictures in their face at every opportunity! It's actually been a fun new hobby that I never thought I would be so interested in. I'm always looking for people to "practice" on.

I still have a long way to go, and I mean a long way, but I've tried to do quite a bit of studying and learning about how to take better pictures in the process. I've come up with a list of things that I wish I would have known while I was using a point-and-shoot camera. And thank you to my photographer friends who have answered random questions for me along the way as well.

I've heard so many friends and other moms mention lately that they want to "upgrade" their point-and-shoot. However, I think you actually can get really good photos without a fancy camera. So here are a few tips that seemed to have worked for me, and I wish I would have learned them much sooner. If you're an expert, you might not want to read this because I'm no expert. But here goes:

1. Natural Light. One of the most helpful things I've learned is to take advantage of natural light. Turn that flash off! The best light for indoor photography is near a big window that lets in a lot of light. When I take pictures of Callie, I like to turn her to face the window until I can see the light reflecting in her eyes (thanks to Jennifer for this tip). For outdoor photography, I try to take pictures in the morning or evening when the light is softer, if at all possible. I only use my flash when it's absolutely too dark or if faces have too many shadows on them, like in bright daylight.

2. Zoom in. I have found that this makes a huge difference in a good or bad picture, particularly for blogging. Don't be afraid to use the zoom and make a tight crop (or stand close). People love faces and you really don't have to show the whole body of the person you are photographing, or even the whole face. So zoom in, or stand closer to your subject, so people can easily distinguish who's in the picture.

3. A Still Camera. I really wish I would have realized this years before. I noticed that when I was using such a little compact camera, it was so easy to accidentally shake the camera when I would click to take the picture. That's why so many of my pictures were blurrly...duh!

4. Scene Selections. When I used my point-and-shoot camera, I always kept it on "auto," but now I've learned that all those scene selections make a difference! These are the options like Portrait, Indoor, Sports, or Macro (use this when you want to take close-up pictures of still life, like food or flowers).

5. A Full Memory Card. With digital photography, you can take a million pictures and it doesn't cost anything more than taking one picture. Experiment with different angles, different lighting, and different settings, and take a ton of pictures. I'm talking way more than what you think you need. I have found this to be especially helpful when taking shots of babies that squirm and don't smile for more than a second, or groups of people because chances are someone will be blinking. It's amazing how just the angle of the light and the photographer can much such a difference. And it's amazing that after taking hundreds of photos, that only a few are spectacular.

As you read this, please remember that I'm only an amateur and am still learning. Any advice that you have for me (whether you are just learning as well or if you are a professional), would be greatly appreciated as well. Oh, and please let me know if any of these tips work for you!

And how can I end a post about photography without a photo? I just have to share this picture of darling Sophia. At only 11 days old, isn't she beautiful (and photogenic)?


mindy m. said...

If you haven't already check out this fun photography blog, tons of tips:

Also these AMAZING photographers in California take great photos with their point & shoot (it is possible!)

Christy said...

i must agree with the natural light tip...something i have also learned over the last few years. it makes a HUGE difference!! and i, too, take hundreds more photos than i actually need. how did we survive before cameras went digital!?! i can't imagine developing all that film!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed this, but can you tell me what kind of camera you own?

I think your pics are great.


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