I have a secret. Well, more like a confession, actually. It’s been a long time coming, but just couldn’t seem to find the right time to share it. Well, it’s been almost a year since I started this blog and it’s time to come clean. Every picture you see here on the blog was taken with my point-and-shoot Nikon camera. (GASP!!) I know, I know. I hear you saying, but every blogger that wants to take good pictures must have a DSLR camera! Listen to this… up until about a month ago, I didn’t even know what DSLR stood for. I just knew it was a way more advanced camera than my high-tech point-and-shoot Nikon. 🙂
I’m here to tell you that for starters, I’m pretty stinking proud of my little point-and-shoot. And I’m also going to show you how you can get great (even blog-worthy!) pictures with some point-and-shoot photography tips.
First of all, let me just point out some advantages to having a point-and-shoot camera. Less expensive, lightweight, and easy to carry. Some models are far more advanced than others and allow you the ability to do more in manual mode than the typical point-and-shoot.
All that being said, I have another confession. One of these days, I would love to have a DSLR camera! I’ll end up getting one at some point. I’ll take an online crash course on how to use the crazy thing, start taking pictures of everything, and one day I might just have some pro-photog blog pictures that you will just drool over. Swoon, really. There is nothing wrong with having big dreams!
For now, let’s talk about how you can get blog-worthy pics with your sweet and simple point-and-shoot camera. 🙂
Read the Book.
The first step is to read.the.manual. That’s coming from someone who is one of the last people on earth to read the instructions on anything, because I always say, “Oh we can figure this out..” Ummm, famous last words.. right before I find the manual or put something together backwards the first time. So, read the book. Just do it.
Practice makes perfect, remember. So take pictures, lots of them! And just so you know, for every blog post I probably take a minimum of 10-12 pictures. Shoot from different angles and try different settings until you get the feel for it.
Learn to Love the Manual Mode
While point-and-shoot cameras may not allow you to do full manual photography, you can still have alot of control over the ISO sensitivity, f-stop, exposure, and white balance. Don’t know what the heck I’m talking about… did you read your manual yet? 😉
A few things about manual settings to help you out. The best tip I’ve learned about my P&S camera is to set the white balance for whatever light I’m shooting in. Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, and so on. Also, take some time to learn about f-stop and exposure settings.
Let me show you what I mean. This picture of mango salsa was taken with the following settings:
ISO: 1600, Shutter Speed: 1/30 second, Aperture: f 8.0
I chose f 8.0 aperture setting because I wanted to show more detail of the food.
The higher the ISO setting, the more light you let in. The faster the shutter speed you choose, the less light you let in. The higher the aperture or f-stop, the less light you let in. Again, practice!!
There are a few things you need to invest in even with your point-and-shoot camera. Most of the things on this list are free, some maybe just as easy as using some handy household items you already have. Others might cost you a small amount of money, but nothing too expensive.
Here’s what you need to take blog-worthy pics with your P&S:
- Daylight -Natural light is always the best light. The best time for pictures is early morning or late evening. Try not to use direct sunlight because who wants those harsh shadows anyway?
- White bed sheet – So sometimes you have to deal with direct or bright sunlight. Hang up a white sheet in front of your light source to soften those shadows.
- Tripod – because no one can stand that still. Sure you can hold your breath, place your elbows on the table to steady the picture, but the day I started using a tripod to take pictures I graduated into a whole new level of mad picture taking skills. 😉
- White Cardboard – You can get these at any craft store or even the dollar store in the school supplies. Let me show you how this works.
The picture on the left is without the white cardboard. Can you tell it’s darker? More shadows on the left side of the bowl? I put the white cardboard on the side of the bowl in the right picture to help reflect the light back on my subject. Can you see how it’s brighter? Neither of these pictures have been edited yet.
Free Editing Program
There are so many out there now, but my favorites are PicMonkey and Picasa. Both are free and fun to use!! Here are the tools I use most in these programs to edit photos. Straighten, crop, fill light, exposure, color temperature, and auto contrast. Oh, and add your watermark to help protect all your hard work.
Turn Off the Flash!
Just do it. Learn to shoot in manual mode and just say NO to flash photography. 🙂
Use the Timer
Trust me on this. You’re pictures will be clearer… Say NO to blurry photography.
No Digital Zoom
If you want to get those fancy effect pictures with a close-up subject and a blurry background, you can do it. Get as close as possible to the subject you are photographing. Turn on the macro mode. Be sure you lock the focus in before snapping the picture. Zoom in as much as you can, but don’t use the digital zoom or you’ll compromise your photo quality. You can get good pictures. Here are more pictures taken with my point-and-shoot for fun. 🙂
If you want to have blog-worthy pictures… size matters. It’s true. The larger the photo file, the longer it will take your blog to load. So when you are using your fantabulous free photo editing program, be sure to resize your pictures to 600 px. for optimum performance on your blog.
There you have my secret. That’s my confession and my photography tips for you today. What point-and-shoot photography tips do you have to share? Am I the only person that’s not upgraded to DSLR yet?? If so, don’t tell me. One of these days… one of these days….
Looking for more tips on how to improve your blogging? Check out my series here!