Tips for Using Your Digital Point-and-Shoot Camera

In the past decade, everything has gone digital, including cameras. Digital cameras give you an (almost) unlimited amount of exposures without having to worry about film. You won’t have to worry about processing the film, and the photo printing process is much simpler.

However, the average digital camera a point-and-shoot, not a DSLR isn’t without its problems, namely in the look and quality of the images. So here are a few tips to get the best out of your digital camera.

  • Control lighting to the best of your abilities. Digital cameras are a lot like film cameras. The only real difference is that digital cameras have a sensor and a memory card instead of film. The digital shutter opens and exposes the sensor to light, storing the resulting image. Thus, lighting determines everything about your picture. Control light using the camera’s built-in functions.

–   Focus: Adjusts how far the lens is from the sensor. Most digital cameras have automatic focus. If possible purchase one with manual focus and/or interchangeable lenses.

–   Aperture: Determines the width of the shutter, which in turn determines the depth of field. A larger aperture will make the foreground more in-focus while the background will be out of focus.

–   Shutter speed: Determines how long the shutter is open. The longer the shutter is open, the more light will hit the sensor, but this can also lead to a higher potential for blurred images.

  • Choose the best exposure setting. Most cameras have various settings that allow you to adjust the aperture and shutter speed. Most digital cameras have a lag of a few seconds between pushing the button and taking the picture, which can be a problem if you’re shooting something in motion. Automatic mode works for a lot of photos as it adjusts all settings, like focus, for you. However, it’s not ideal for everything. Understand the f-stop, shutter speed, and presets for each of the other exposure settings, especially if you plan on turning those shots into picture gifts.
  • Use optical zoom. Optical zoom physically changes the distance between the lens, the sensor, and the object you’re trying to shoot. Digital zoom is more like enlarging a small portion of the image, which you can do with any basic image editing software. Digital zoom does not look good, and more often causes an ugly, distorted image than anything visually appealing. Digital zoom will not make for good mounted prints.
  • Keep it steady. Whenever possible, use a tripod or place your camera on a table or level surface. Digital cameras require more light than film cameras, which means the shutter is left open longer. Moving even slightly while the shutter is open will create a blurry image. This is made even more intense when you zoom in on an object.
  • Upgrade your storage space. Upgrade your memory card to something bigger, and make sure you have another around as a backup for emergencies. A bigger memory card means not having to worry about filling up too fast.
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