It is no secret that most of us have looked at the high-resolution DSLR shots on the cover of a travel magazine or the Instagram of our favorite model and wished that we had the skill to pull off a shot of that quality.
It is also not a secret that most of us do not have access to expensive gear and those fancy DSLR cameras. The next best option to the average consumer and the budding photography enthusiasts in all of us is often the point and shoot camera systems built into our smartphones.
These camera systems have gone through a period of revolutionary progress in recent years making them very potent tools in creating that perfect shot without much professional photography knowledge.
This makes it all the more important to understand some core principles that make up a good photo so that these tools are utilized to their full potential. Here are all the things you need to know to get the most of your point and shoot cameras.
Get on a different level
The obvious drawback of everyone having a camera is that the internet is flooded with mundane shots in multitude. It takes creativity and originality to stand out from the crowd. The easiest way to do it in photography is to approach the subject from a different perspective.
Getting above the subject for a bird’s eye view or getting well below the eye level presents the subject in a unique new perspective. This shift in perspective can also be used to make the subject look prominent and large against the background or to present the subject in a subtler blended in the picture. The originality in the way a subject is portrayed makes your photo stand out of the ordinary.
Know what you are doing
The modern smartphone camera maybe a lot more capable than you might think. They have advanced software to process your shots that all you have to do is point and shoot. However, it wouldn’t hurt to know your camera and the nuances of how it works. Most cameras now have a professional mode that lets you control the shutter speed ISO and a whole array of parameters that lets you control everything about what you shoot. If you are a vlogger creating professional videos for youtube then these features could come as handy for you.
Knowing the strength and weaknesses of your camera also lets you pick the optimum lighting conditions that play to the strength of your point and shoot system. Understanding how the change in these parameters affects the shot and its exposure makes you a better photographer. It also gives you insight into the inner workings of your camera which would be invaluable in case you decide to upgrade to a professional camera in the long run
Knowing what you shoot
Most professional looking shots are planned out and well thought out. Yes, even those candid looking ones. The subject is well lit using the natural-looking lights and the subject is placed in a well-framed focal point. Although those unexpected shots tend to make for great memories, a professional-looking shot is more often than not a result of thought and process.
This is also true for the point and shoot systems. Using good lighting conditions instead of the built-in flash and understanding the angles of your subject can do wonders for your ‘candid’ shots.
Sure your point and shoot system may have many things it lacks, but what it does have going for it is its ease of access and mobility. The flexibility afforded by the small nimble nature of the camera affords it the luxury of angles and mobility that a full DSLR system cannot hope to achieve. This lets you experiment with radical photography techniques and angles. So ditch that front on an angle and get creative with your shots.
Framing your subject is also another area where you can innovate. The subject need not necessarily be in the exact center of the frame every single time. Get creative with the framing of your subject. A highlighted subject in the foreground but not in the center presents it in a unique light and helps your photo stand out from the ordinary.
Shooting yourself is an attractive prospect, most of the time. But getting creative with the subject of your photo can yield interesting results. The world is filled with interesting objects, people and situations. The easy accessibility of the point and shoot system allows you to make full use of this.
Processing a shot
A lot of what comes through in the final result of a good shot is the post-production. The use of good editing software can elevate your shot to heights that you previously may not have anticipated. Choosing good editing software can however be a daunting task but there is a plethora of information available online to guide you through it. However, it is also important to remember that good software is only a job half done. Get creative with the choice of color hues and effects.
A well-edited photograph draws attention to the subject of the photograph and away from the background in most cases. The use of darker subtle tones in the background and more striking undertones in the foreground helps achieve this effect easily. A good monochromatic effect also seldom misses the mark of giving the photo a graver sober tone.
Using a point and shoot system effectively comes down to making the most of what you have. There are limitations to the capabilities of these cameras but they are in no means an inferior or useless system.
And it is also important to remember that there is a whole lot more to a good shot than a professional-grade camera. It comes down to good lighting, good framing and overall creativity of the shot. It is admittedly not easy to pull off a professional-looking shot. But the camera systems on the smartphone is a potent way of achieving this just by being smart and a tiny bit creative. Happy shooting folks