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Close-Up Image Quality with Digital Point and Shoot

Many digital point and shoot cameras can produce high-quality macro and close-up images if you know how to use them. Forget the notion that you can use your point and shoot camera only for pointing and shooting.

You achieve the best macro and close-up images when you take the time to think about your intended message, camera settings, composition, and lighting. As if that weren’t enough, you need also to consider how to keep your camera and subject as still as possible.

Because you get less control from a point and shoot digital camera than from a DSLR, you need to master the art of composition in order to create images that capture the interest of viewers.

You can improve the composition of the macro or close-up photographs you take with your point and shoot digital camera by considering the following:

  • Point of focus refers to the sharpest area of your image. You generally make your subject, or whatever you find to be most interesting in your scene, the point of focus. If your digital point and shoot offers control of your point of focus, use it to direct your viewers to the subject in a composition.

  • You use exposure settings to determine depth of field, adjust the brightness of your exposure, and to freeze motion in moving subjects.

  • The distance of your camera from your subject determines the size relationship between your subject and the background. You use distance in combination with level of zoom to achieve the right balance of how large your subject appears in your frame and how much of the background you show.

  • Camera angle plays a major part in the perspective at which a subject appears in a photograph. View your digital point and shoot’s LCD monitor while adjusting your camera angle to ensure your subject fits into its background in a visually comfortable way.

  • Including foreground and background elements in your frame can add depth, interest, realism, and ambiance to an image.

    A proper camera angle helps separate the subject from the background.
    A proper camera angle helps separate the subject from the background.

30.5mm, 1/500, f/4, 200    30.5mm, 1/500, f/4, 200

Including foreground elements in your frame can add depth, realism, and ambiance to your image.
Including foreground elements in your frame can add depth, realism, and ambiance to your image.

30.5mm, 1/320, f/8, 250

  • The rule of thirds states that your subject, horizon lines, and other visual points of interest in a scene are best represented when placed on the thirds of a frame rather than in the center or at the far edges. Some camera models have a thirds grid that can be applied to the LCD monitor, helping you keep this rule in mind when composing your shots.


100mm, 1/15, f/8, 200

If your camera doesn’t have the option to display the thirds grid on your LCD, then cut thin strips of gaffer’s tape and place them along the thirds of your camera’s monitor. Use them as a guide to help position elements in your frame as you compose a scene.

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