Taking Beautiful Photos With A Compact Camera

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Many people think you need a fancy, expensive DSLR camera to take great pictures. While an excellent camera never hurts, compact cameras can still take some beautiful pictures if you know what you're doing. With a few helpful hints, you can be on your way to intermediate photography without owning a $2,000 Nikon camera.

Familiarize yourself with your camera and all its features. It's boring to read the instruction manual from cover to cover, but there is no better way to learn. The Internet makes a great resource for beginners who may not understand all the terminology. After learning the features, navigate through the menus on the camera so you can quickly access them and know how they operate.

Invest some money into photography equipment. A tripod is a useful tool for amateur photographers. Even the slightest movement of your hand when taking a picture can affect the sharpness of the image. Tripods can be a bit of a nuisance so purchase one that is compact and portable. If you don't have a tripod with you, use the timer feature to minimize any movement.

Perspective and composition are key to taking good photos. Everyone always places the subject in the dead center of the shot. This is actually one of the worst things you can do. If you don't know about the "rule of thirds," it's time to learn. A photograph should be divided into nine equal parts using two horizontal and two vertical lines. Important objects should be placed along these lines or where they intersect. Always experiment with different angles and techniques.

Minimize the use of the flash. Many pictures have the potential to be great shots but are easily ruined with the wrong use of flash. Don't rely on the automatic flash setting that is available on most compact digital cameras. Using the flash at night will show an overexposed subject and an all black background. This leads us right into the topic of ISO settings. The ISO settings control the camera's sensitivity to light. Use a setting between 50-100 for bright, outdoor shots. ISO 200 is perfect for cloudy or overcast days. An ISO between 400-800 should be used when there is dim lighting, but not when it is completely dark out. An ISO of 1600 or above should be used indoors, at night, or for moving shots. Keep in mind that a higher ISO setting will create more noise in the photo.

Ever wonder how photographers take those awesome close-up pictures of flowers and insects? They use macro mode. Macro mode is not limited to DSLR cameras. You can easily find macro mode on your compact digital camera. After turning on macro mode, get as close to the subject as possible and allow the camera to properly focus before taking the picture.

It's not hard to take good photos with simple compact cameras. These tips will make you feel proud to call yourself an amateur and when you're ready, take the leap up to DSLR cameras and truly hone your photography skills.


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