If you’re not the most tech-savvy person out there or simply have little to no experience when it comes to getting the most of a point and shoot camera, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a short buying guide to assist you in learning the very basics of photography.

Although there are many people that will tell you so, you don’t need a DSLR to take amazing shots of family and friends. It’s true that a DSLR is often times superior to an affordable, point and shoot camera, but the latter will definitely do what it’s supposed to do. Here’s what you should know if you want to take breathtaking photos with your device.


Point and shoot cameras


Read the manual:

Everyone will tell you this time and time again: just read the manual. If you’re ever encountering any problem with your model and if you find yourself a bit puzzled as to how to operate it, always come back to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Some companies that have a long history of producing cameras, such as Nikon and Canon, print out very detailed manuals where they explain almost everything a user must know. You might say that reading the book is boring, as you’re more than capable of taking a photo all by yourself. However, believe it or not, mastering your camera should begin with the this step, no matter how time-consuming and tedious it might seem.


Learn the settings:

After learning the extremely basic information you require in order to operate the camera, try taking several shots of the same subject, using various modes. Experiment with the aperture and try to develop an eye for what changing it can do to your photographs. Play with the exposure compensation in order to either overexpose or underexpose a picture.

If you have the time and availability, try as many settings as possible. It’s only through trial and error that you can learn to master your newly found hobby. Perfecting your craft can occur by being in complete control of the settings.


Flash: to use or not to use?

One of the main advantages of point and shoot cameras is that you’re able to use the flash without buying an expensive one and attaching it to the body of the DSLR. All things considered, the flash is a nice addition, as it allows you to capture unforgettable memories even when the lighting is poor. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to overdo it.

Getting good photos without using the flash is possible, as long as you’re aware of some lighting rules. Holding the camera as tight as possible to your body can sometime provide the right results. To take good photos in low light, you should be able to breathe like a international secret agent.


point and shoot camera


Consider the background:

The busier the background, the more difficult it is for the viewer to understand what your subject is. Blurry backgrounds are rather hard to have with such a camera, but the takeaway in this case is that simplicity is key. Chaotic environments that are filled with distractions can turn a potentially good photograph into an unpleasant thing to look at.


Several thoughts on composition:

Studying composition is an occasional difficult endeavor, and amateur photographers may inevitably tend to forget all about the rules. The simplest way of getting a good portrait is to stick as close as possible to your subject. Sure, leave some room for the environment as well, but don’t overdo it, at least not in the case of portrait photography.

As for the placement of the subject in a snapshot you might take on a regular day, the rule is rather simple. Whatever you do, don’t place the subject always in the center of the picture. After a while, even you might be bored with the results you’re getting.


The basics of lighting:

If you were to choose between an expensive lighting set and natural lighting, what would you prefer? Considering that even professional photographers prefer natural light over its artificial counterpart, when starting out, the sun should be your friend.

There are two main rules of good lighting for good pictures. You can either have the sun in your back, or have the sun looking down on a side of your subject. In both of these circumstances, the photo will come up as you expect it to.

Using a point and shoot camera isn’t complicated, as long as you’re consistent and patient with your learning process. Nothing can be learned in a day, so give yourself some slack.