How to get great shots from Compact Camera
With care you can produce stunning resultson even compact cameras. There a few tips for readers show just what can be achieved.
Keep the camera steady
Holding the camera at arm`s length when shooting is not conducive to achieving the sharpest possible images, but there are ways you can minimise the risk of the camera shake reducing the sharpness of your shots. To provide greater stability bend your arms so that your elbows are braced against your body. Another way to avoid camera shake is to lean againts doorway or wall. In lower light when the shutter speed is likely to be slow try to find something to place the camera on to keep it steady. As an extra precaution set the camera to self-timer so that you eliminate the problem of shake when you press the shutter button. Better still, keep a small tabletop tripod in your camera bag for such occasions.
Use the right mode
Getting the best results involves more than just setting the camera to automatic and firing away. Compacts with manual controls obviosly offer the most bersatility and control the quality and ‘look’ of your images. But even fairly basic compact now offer various modes in the menu that, if selected with care, will give you better result than you’d get from plain old auto. These modes adjust the parameters specifically for the subject you’re shooting – not just the exposure but the focus mode, white balance, colour, sharpening and other settings.
Largest image size
Selecting the smallest resolution on your compact might mean that you get many more shots on your SD card but it will be at the expense of image quality. This means that if you should want to make an enlargement from a part of the image, or imdeed yje emyore frame, the picture will start to suffer from pixellation and your print will have fuzzy appearance. If your shot turns out to be gppd enough to be entered in a competition, be published or even hung on the wall, this would be a distinct disadvantage. It`s better to carry a spare card, in either your camera case or wallet.
Many photographers take great care with their composition when using DSLR, but are much haphazard when using compact. Using the LCD screen does encourage a more casual approach, but try to avoid falling into that trap. Most compacts feature an option to dispaly grid lines on the screen to help you keeo the camera level so that, for instance, the horizan line in a landscape stays straight, or to assist you in placing your subject in the optimum position. This is known as the rule of thirds. Of course, these lines do not appear on your finished shots.
Take control of your flash
Most people assime that flash is there for shots when there is little light, particularly indoors. However, even outdoors in bright light, flash can be useful. For instance, if you taking a potrait on a sunny day it is all too easy for the camera to read for the sky and underexpose the face. Creating silhouette. By switching on the flash, the camera will fire a small amount of light that will balance the subject with the background.
Always carry camera
The best way to ensure you geat a great shots is to always carry camera with you. That way when the unexpected occurs you`ll be able to capture it. Lugging a DSLR kit around you can become a drag, so get a compact that will fit into a pocket or a work bag, and make sure it`s charged and there`s plenty of space on the memory card.
The smaller sensors of compact cameras make them especially suited to macro work. By choosing the macro mode – usually a flower symbol – you will be able to get in as close as one or two centimetres. Even at wide apertures, compacts have the advantage of giving greater magnification and depth of field. Remember, just moving your viewpoint a couple centimetres, backwards of forwards, is all that will be necessary to get pin-sharp focusing, but when shooting this close make sure you do not cast a shadow over your subject with your camera.
Selecting the portrait scene mode will normally tell the camera to choose a large aperture than it might if set to auto. The reduced depth of field that results will render the background slightly out of focus. This emphasises the subject and makes them stand out from the background. Another way to reduce the sharpeness of the background is to step back from your subject and zoom in by using the telephoto setting. This will also fill the frame, making a far better overall composition.
When you set your camera to auto it will select the colour balance for you. In general shooting conditions this can be a time-saving advantage, but in situations where the colour of the light adds atmosphere to the shot, such as when shooting a sunset, the camera may try to ‘cool’ that wonderful warm light that attracted you in the firts place. In this situation, make sure the colour balance is set manually.
Many compact cameras have facility to shoot raw and JPEG. The raw format is the equivalent of a film negative, and contains much more information than JPEG, which compresses data to reduce the file sizes. Like a film negative, you will have to ‘process’ a raw image, which requires more time and particular software. However, the quality will be far higher and the range if tones greater. You will be able to output the image at a far higher resolution than JPEG, so bigger and better-quality enlargements will be possible.
Use the lowest ISO you can
Most compacts deliver good image quality at the lower ISO sensitivities, such as ISO 100, but due to their very small sensors few manage to maintain that quality as the sensivity increases, and with most models it`s best to avoid straying above ISO 1000 except in emergencies.
Many cameras are set by default to auto ISO, which means that it`s the camera that decides this important parameter and the user isn`t even told which ISO has been set. The first thng to do,then, is switch to manual conditions will allow. Next, select as low an ISO setting as the conditions will allow. Beware, though, that too low an ISO can be worse than high, because resulting slow shutter speed can induce blur due to camera shake.
Sources from: Digital Photography Technicques, Jhon freeman
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