Tips for Taking Good Point-and-Shoot Photographs

Part of the Photography For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Photography is about capturing and preserving images, and as a photographer, you want to take the best pictures you can. If you’re using a point-and-shoot camera, use these simple tricks to help improve your photographs:

  • Always lock the focus before taking a picture.

  • Frame, don’t aim. Use the whole viewfinder or viewing screen to compose your shot. With people pictures, place heads near the top rather than dead-center.

  • Get closer. In most photographs, the main subject is too small — and getting closer when you shoot is the best way to make the subject bigger.

  • Use flash outdoors. Set your point-and-shoot’s fill-flash mode whenever possible. It softens the unflattering facial shadows created by direct sunlight and brightens a subject lit from behind without washing out the background.

  • Use a fast film. ISO 400 print film should be your standard film. If you like to zoom your lens way in to make the subject bigger, use ISO 800 film instead. These super-quality films lessen picture-wrecking blur and improve background detail in flash shots.

  • Shoot from a different angle. Eye level is often not the best height from which to take pictures. Try squatting for a low angle, or standing on a chair for a high one.

  • Place the subject off-center. This is an easy way to make your pictures more interesting. But off-center composition makes locking the focus all the more imperative!

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