How To: Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

Taking great photos doesn't mean you have to invest in an expensive camera. By learning a little bit about photography and the camera you have, you can use a simple point-and-shoot to capture amazing pictures. Try out these tips to begin!

1. Take the time to learn your camera's functions

The number one best way to improve at anything is to practice. Most point-and-shoot style cameras have a basic auto function and then a few other functions. For example, mine has a setting for landscapes and a setting for snow or beach. Don't just stick to the auto function, try them all out and see what works.

2. Turn off your flash

When at all possible, use natural light. Experiment with different angles and times of day. Direct sun overhead can be harsh and cast shadows; later in the day, when the sun is lower, is often the best time of day. If you are working with shadows, try and play with them.

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

Make the shadow part of the subject of the picture.

3. Turn on your flash!

If you're taking portraits (pictures of people) in a darker setting with some light (against a sunset, for example) do use your flash. This will fill in the darker spaces and show off your subjects better. This works best if you're not more than twenty feet for your subject. If they don't mind, try a shot with the flash and one without. Later you can pick the best one.

4. When it's dark, increase your ISO

When shooting in darker settings, increase the ISO on your camera. The ISO controls how sensitive your camera is to light and even basic digital cameras let you adjust this. A lower ISO produces a sharper image but a higher ISO enables the camera to allow more light in and the image will appear brighter.

This picture has a higher than average ISO:

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

This picture has a lower than average ISO:

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

See the difference?

Most point-and-shoot cameras have automatic settings for ISO and these will work well the majority of the time. But when shooting low light scenes, turn off your flash and turn up your ISO and see if you like the result!

5. Invest in a tripod

There are lots of small, cheap, and portable tripods out there. You don't have to spend a lot of money but a tripod can make a big different when it comes to taking better pictures. A tripod will hold your camera steadier than you can and thus reduce blur, particularly in action shots. They can also be really helpful when using your camera's timer.

Taken with a tripod:

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

And without a tripod:

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

Way blurrier.

6. Use your macro setting

This is the setting to use when taking close shots of an object. It will result in a crisper, more finely detailed photo by focusing your camera in on the closest object and allowing it to blur the background out a little. Compare these two otherwise identical shots to see what a difference it can make:

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

This is the setting to use when taking closeups of flowers (like the one in the cover image for this article) or any fine details.

7. Frame your shots

Think about where the focus of your picture is. Is it right in the center or slightly off the side? Is the background important? You may be taking a picture of a friend but you also want the gorgeous beach view behind her. Sometimes putting the focus of your picture off to one side can create a more visually interesting shot. Your photo may contain the same elements but framing can be the difference between an okay photograph and a "I can't believe you took that!" photograph.

This is a not-that-interesting photo of a group of Jeeps gathered by the river:

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

By zooming out and framing the picture so that the Jeeps sit in one corner, the photo becomes a lot more visually interesting, as well as drawing attention to the mountain backdrop.

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

8. Move your body

Chances are you won't be standing directly in front of the perfect shot. Leaning back, leaning forward, dropping to one knee can all make a difference in capturing that perfect angle.

For example, getting closer to the ground allowed me to capture the reflection of a beautiful sunset in this photo:

How to Take Better Photos Without a Better Camera

9. Take your camera with you

You can't take great shots if you don't have your camera. You never know when a great opportunity will arise. The above photo was captured while walking to a friend's house one evening. Plus, the more you practice, the better you'll become!

8 Comments

Also- to make your photos more interesting, like you did in the jeep photo, use a setting that divides the camera into ninths. Place the target of the photo at one of the intersections. Somehow this makes the photo a lot more interesting

That's a great tip! Thanks!

Thank you so much for all the great information that you included in your article, I really enjoyed reading it.

I really like that last photo you took.

Excellent info!
thanks...

good yaar Thanks

I'll be trying this with my Lumix point and shoot. Thanks for the info...

There are very good options to take buetyful pictures with mobile,camera e.t.c

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