DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras are becoming more popular with consumers. What was once an exclusive tool has now become mainstream. Many aspiring young photographers splurge their money on these cameras. Alongside that, there are the smartphone photographers who use Instagram to instantly enhance their photos. Art (if I may use that term) is a very subjective matter and diversity is something that we should celebrate. Despite all the hype on DSLRs and Instagram, there are people who still use point-and-shoots, like me. So how do you take better photographs with an entry level camera? (Tips provided are for the amateur aspiring photographer)
Ever have that friend with a DSLR but with very badly composed pictures? You see the thing about photographs is that you have to plan the composition first – like an essay, or a painting. There are tons of articles about composition on the internet that you can read. Read up on them and put them to practice. Don’t be afraid to zoom in because optical zoom is fine. Digital zoom on the other hand doesn’t do much justice to your photo.
2. Set up Good Lighting
You don’t need expensive studio lights but if you do have them, then that’s good for you. If not, table lamps or any other light source would suffice. The thing about light is it’s often looked over upon by new aspiring photographers with point-and-shoots. Light will help enhance your picture. That’s why you have flash in the first place. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard some say that you shouldn’t be using flash. That is true in some cases, but actually it’s the light direction which matters the most. There’s some science to it.
3. Get a Tripod
Admit it. Your hands are not as steady as you think they are. When using slow shutter speeds, use a tripod. Get a good one and not the one that sells for RM15 at the PC Fair. Tripods enable you to explore new angles and perspectives. You’ll feel a lot more confident with the picture frame in your absolute control.
4. Use the Timer
Also relating to your shaky hands, timers help reduce that shakiness you were born with. Unless you were a natural born sniper, then you’ll only miss the good shots when you’re breathing. If you’re taking pictures of still objects, give it a 2 or 3 second timer. The camera is at its stillest when you’re not touching it. But if you really do want shaky pictures for artistic effects then we’re not stopping you.
5. Go as manual as you can
Point-and-shoots usually come with a bucket load of useless features that make them appealing in the first place. They even make silly sounds that irritate you with every shutter and click. Personally, I would turn those silly sounds off. What you should do is explore the menu section of your point-and-shoot. Underneath all those silly gizmos, you can adjust your ISO, focus setting, white balance, flash setting, brightness, and photo dimension. Although limited, you should experiment with these things more instead of setting everything to automatic. So that when you can finally afford a DSLR, you are familiar with the basic controls.
Oh and it never hurts to do some editing later to really get the best out of your picture. But the best would be to reduce the amount of editing required once the photo is taken.
*Tips provided are from personal experience. They may or may not apply to you. Do share with us your own opinion on this matter.