I have learned something very valuable recently. That you don’t need a really expensive high end camera to take beautiful pictures and capture that sweet moment of your little one. Since returning from the beach I have been asked by several people about taking pictures and some “tips” I could give.
It’s funny because since as long as I can remember I have always carried a camera with me everywhere I went. Even before I had a digital camera I was always taking way to many pictures. I have always had a love of photography, however something about having a baby has made we want to take better pictures, and more creative pictures.
While I was on maternity leave I started reading about photography and processing digital images after taking them with Photoshop. I would read anything I could get my hands on, and I will actually put together a book recommendation list at the end of this blog of books that I have read and that I thought were really helpful. This past May I enrolled in an online photography course where they would critique your pictures and give you feed back on the picture, different settings you could use, and how to take the best picture with the equipment that you have. I have also followed the http://thecreativemama.com/ which has been wonderful giving tips.
I think that professional photographers are funny, they aren’t eager to give out the information that works for them. I have had a hard time with photography blogs gaining much information that has been “down to earth” that I could understand in lemans terms. I guess they don’t want to give the tips that help make their pictures great. I am no way a professional however I have learned a few tips along the way.
Anyway, here are my tips in shooting with your good old point and shoot camera that has been requested by more than one of my friends. I want you to realize though, one of the reason that I can take decent pictures though is because my daughter is absolutely precious, in every moment and face that she makes.
1. Straight out of the box the camera isn’t set up properly, it is set for AUTO everything, to get a higher quality picture you will need to change some of these settings.
2. Set your camera in the highest pixel it will let you take. It would be worth your while to purchase a higher GB memory card. If you are about to purchase a new camera purchase one with at least 7 megapixels because that will give you enough information to compose and crop properly. Go into your camera setting, because unless you have changed it, it isn’t set on the highest pixel setting. Choose highest quality with least amount of compression.
3. Set your ISO to the lowest setting on the camera. By default your camera is probably set on AUTO, this allows your camera to change it by itself depending on the amount of light available. Lower ISO is higher quality with less digital noise. Digital noise is kinda equivalent to grain and the less the better. Especially if you are shooting up close.
4. NEVER USE YOUR DIGITAL ZOOM. It is always best if you have a digital zoom to move in and out from your object. If you use your zoom, it decreases the quality of the picture. Also the zoom in the camera is not as good as cropping/ enlarging in photoshop. I own Photoshop elements 8.0, you can purchase it for about 75$ and it is definitely a wonderful investment. I would definitely like on of the higher end versions of Photoshop, however this one does everything that I would like it to do.
5. Turn off the flash. I like to use natural light as much as possible, and I think you get a better picture using window light to illuminate the shot, or just take pictures outside, which I do most of the time. I prefer to keep the flash off most of the time. I think that natural light looks better in the picture; the flash gives a really harsh tone.
6. When you open up your photos in your editing program, such as Photoshop, open your files in either a TIF or a PSD (which is a Photoshop file). These image formats are uncompressed image formats, a JPEG is a compressed image format which looses quality with modification. If you work on a JPEG if degrades the quality of the picture. If you save the picture in a TIP or a PSD it improves the image when you save it, doesn’t degrade it.
7. Have fun with your pictures! I think that is the key to taking really good shots, is to have fun with what you’re doing. I usually try not to intrude with the moment by just doing candid photography.
Thanks for reading! I would love to read any tips you have for me! There are a lot of advantages to using your point and shoot camera, one of the best advantages is that it is always with you and easily accessible.