‘I’ve just got a little point and shoot camera – nothing fancy… ‘
How often have you heard someone make this remark about their camera? No matter how ‘simple’ or straightforward your camera might be it is still a technological marvel capable of doing far more than most owners would ever believe. The only real limit is you! – photography is a marvelous hobby as you can enjoy yourself at whatever level of interest or expertise that appeals to you.
Should you want to get more creative with your ‘simple’ camera there are a lot of things which you can do… the obvious start point is the instruction manual – this is a mine of useful information – it just takes a little perseverance – don’t try and learn it all at once! Just look up what you need to know now.
When you take a photograph with your camera in the ‘automatic’ mode it will produce what the manufacturer considers to be the best picture based on all the information available to the camera – such as the light; the type of light; the type of scene the camera calculates is in front of it; is it using the flash and so on. However the camera is just guessing, albeit very cleverly, about the picture it is taking.
You, however, know what type of picture you are taking – people, scenery, buildings etc and if you just tell your camera what you are doing it will be able to do a better calculation and produce a better picture for you.
How do we do this? Built into your camera are a set of different ‘modes’ or ‘scenes’. By selecting one of these we tell the camera what the picture is all about and it will calculate the exposure accordingly – it really is that simple. Your instruction book will tell you how to turn on modes really quickly – it is so easy! Just remember to turn the camera back to automatic afterwards to avoid taking a whole lot of pictures at the wrong settings.
On most cameras there are a multitude of different modes as the manufacturers compete to add features. At first sight this can be quite daunting – do not get mode gridlock! Pick two or three that you really find useful such as ‘Portrait’ or ‘Landscape’ and concentrate on these – practice with them and get an idea of the effects you can achieve. You will be so impressed with yourself!
Once you are comfortable with these you can start to increase the number that you use. Don’t be cautious about experimenting – the more you try the more confident and comfortable you will become with your camera and your pictures will improve considerably. You will get just so much more fun out of your hobby.
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