The ultimate mark of a great photographer is not how much equipment they own, but how well they understand the equipment they do have. The idea that an expensive camera and accessories will make you a better photographer is a myth! This is great news for aspiring photographers because it means you can get started without investing a ton of money in expensive gear. While better equipment does provide more flexibility, it’s not the only requirement for great photography. If you learn how to harness the strengths of your equipment and circumvent its weaknesses, you can take good photos with any camera.
Follow these 7 basic photography techniques for amazing point and shoot photography.
The first step to understanding what your camera is capable of is listed right there in the manual. Many cameras have scene modes designed to adjust its automatic settings to your situation. Many years ago as a high school graduation gift, I received a point-and-shoot camera. I was so excited to receive my first camera that I read the manual front to back, then took practice photos to play with the scene modes. The photo below is a direct result of reading the manual because I had no idea what I was doing otherwise.
Framing the shot is all about technique. There are a variety of composition rules to all but guarantee good photography. The rule of thirds, frame within a frame, and leading lines are among the most popular techniques for new photographers to master. But, don’t be afraid to break the rules and make it your own.
One of the limitations of a point-and-shoot or phone camera is a narrow aperture which limits the amount of background blur. With a large depth of field, you won’t be able to blur out distracting backgrounds. The best way around this limitation is to shoot with backgrounds you wouldn’t want to be blurred out anyway.
Negative space is the area that surrounds the subject and contains little to no clutter; it’s essentially empty. This technique is another way around a narrow aperture. Negative space helps isolate and bring attention to the subject by limiting distractions from the rest of the photo.
Get under or on top of things, move closer or further away – keep moving until you find a unique way to capture something ordinary.
The camera will focus on the part of the scene with the most exposure. If the light source is behind the subject, then the subject in the foreground will be underexposed. When possible, simply turn around so the light is behind the camera and exposing the subject.
Just a smidge of editing will do your photos a ton of favors. Since point and shoot cameras don’t have the option of shooting in raw, you won’t have as much flexibility as a DSLR. However, a little bit of cropping and color enhancements can dramatically improve a photo.
Using expensive equipment won’t magically make you a better photographer, so don’t be afraid to practice the basics and discover your style with a phone or point-and-shoot. I encourage you to use the gear you have until the limitations of your gear are what’s holding you back. As a bonus you’ll have discovered your style and have a better understanding of the equipment you’ll need when you’re ready to upgrade.
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