Taking a Better Picture #1

Last night I had the opportunity to do some photography with a nice camera. This is great, I thought. With a pro-level camera I should be able to take pro-level pictures, right? Shots like you see in magazines… I happily snapped away, and was shocked at the end of the shoot to see that most of the pictures I had taken were blurry, dull and well, just lame.

That really showed me that taking good picture is not as much about the type of camera that you have, but the way you use it (I obviously was not experienced enough to use the fancy camera in the way that it should have been!). So take heart, fellow point-and-shooters: I’m going to be posting some photography tips that have helped me use my little Casio Exilim to take pictures that I’m proud of.

Tip #1 Don’t use the Flash!

Here is the same picture with the camera’s built-in flash:

And without the flash:

Much better, right?

So when you go to take a picture, first turn the flash off. Then, help the camera out by adding more light. The best option is to take your pic someplace where there’s enough sun to light your subject, like next to a window or outdoors. The second best option is to turn on more lights in the room to brighten things up. When those aren’t enough and the picture is still too dark, turn your camera to the “M” setting (for manual), and start playing around.

Adjusting the settings manually can compensate for low light in a room. Its a little intimidating at first to adjust all the numbers, but just play around with it and you’ll get the feel for what  changing the aperture and shutter speed do to a photo. This is where the preview screen on the back of your camera is really helpful.

So, to recap, only use the flash as a last resort. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference this makes in your pictures.


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