A light and compact point-and-shoot camera can take even surprisingly better photos than a digital SLR if the user knows how to get the most out of it. Compared to its much bigger sibling, a point-and-shoot camera features a better system for combining ambient light and the light from the camera flash. Unlike inconvenient, bulky and expensive DSLRs, a small point-and-shoot camera slips easily into a pocket or purse so you are always ready to take some really awesome pictures, but only if you know how.
Choose a suitable setting or locale and a simple background:
What can differentiate a fantastic photo from mediocre or ordinary ones is the choice of location. When you’re out scouting your location for some really terrific areas to do some awesome photography, make sure to take mental notes when you find cool spots for taking pictures.
Do check out locations with a simple background. You don’t want to ruin the essence of picture taking with a chaotic, overly busy and therefore distracting background, which will take away the focus from your subject. Graphic visual patterns can overwhelm your subject altogether. A blurry background may look neat at times, but point-and-shoot cameras typically come with extraordinarily short focal lengths and depths of field that make blurry backgrounds problematic to achieve.
Work on proper lighting:
Taking portraits in the sun on a clear day and at high noon can be challenging especially for beginners. The hard light can generate shadows coming straight from overhead and can put those shadows in unflattering positions on the subject’s face, ie., underneath their nose and eyes. One solution is to have the subject move to the shade so it will be diffused skylight and not sunlight that will serve as the illumination. Another is to shoot the subject with the sun behind the photographer, or slightly off the left or right of the subject. Better yet, take better photos about an hour before the sun sets or about an hour after it rises. Whenever you can, avoid midday shooting of portraits, where the lighting can be bright and harsh.
Professional photographers simply bring along reflectors and diffusers during the shoot.
Landscape photography in the sunlight will be impossible to achieve with the sun straight overhead. Shapes are recognized by the eyes with the help of shadows.
With high overcast skylight, you can take plenty of photos. There are no shadows to obscure anything. However, the big white sky is not going to be a good subject so make sure the pictures you take virtually have no sky in them.
At twilight, you can still take great pictures. Make sure the exposures you have are 30 seconds or longer.
Use the camera flash sparingly:
The camera flash provides artificial illumination. With it, the light from the sun is augmented. Its light will fill in the shadows, serving as fill flash. The electronic flash is of identical color as the sun around noontime. ,Moreover, it can ruin an otherwise great photo.
The sunlight is redder near sunrise or sunset, making illuminated objects appear exceptionally cold. A professional photographer will have colored filters ready, for pasting over the flash tube. Amateur photographers are particularly meticulous about artificial light from a camera flash, since the built-in strobe blasts light on the subject when ambient light is insufficient. In addition, since the light merely comes from the same angle as the lens, there are no usable shadow cues available.
The bottom line: properly use an accessory flash that slides atop the camera, or use a built-in flash only to fill harsh shadows in glaring sunlight. Aim to shoot good photos without using the flash.
Learn about framing and composition:
Framing and composition is what differentiates amateur from professional photographers. These two elements denote where the subject is placed in the photo frame. Basically, the subject fills the frame, with just enough space to include a bit of the environment surrounding the subject. The subject has to be framed close and tight to make a better-looking portrait.
For single subjects, use the vertical format. For group photos or full body reclining single subjects, use the horizontal layout. Keep in mind that the most interesting part of a person’s anatomy is their face.
In addition, you do not always need to place the subject smack in the center of the frame, which can become rather boring and ordinary. Placing the person slightly off to the side rather than at the exact center can often prove to be more interesting.
Turn off the digital zoom:
Unlike digital zoom, optical zoom has the lens elements actually moving to bring the subject closer. With digital zoom, the optical zoom maxes out to give way to the camera’s CSI-like zooming and enhancement systems. A better job with greater attention to detail can be achieved using premium photo editing applications. Just make the most of the optical zoom and execute cropping and enhancements on your own.