Pointing and Shooting

I love my DSLR, which is a Canon EOS Rebel XT. It is the reason I've become an amateur photographer. But I also really enjoy using my smaller point-and-shoot camera, which is a Canon Powershot A590IS. The Powershot is not as fast or as flexible as the Rebel, but it has some
real advantages over the Rebel. Namely, the Powershot is portable and light.

The technical picture quality from the Powershot is not as high as the Rebel, which isn't surprising. But great pictures are still possible with the Powershot and with any small point-and-shoot camera. Here is a list of things you can do to greatly improve the photos from any
point-and-shoot camera (with examples):

1. Don't use automatic mode. Automatic mode will only provide good pictures in lots of light and all the pictures will look the same. Instead, use the "scene" modes, which use camera settings optimal for the situation or environment. Use portrait mode if you're taking pictures of people. Use night mode if it's night time. Use macro mode if you're taking picture of something small and up close. Make sure you read your camera manual to find out what scene modes your
camera has and how to use them.

Here's a picture I took using my Powershot's "fireworks" mode:

2. Don't be afraid to get close. It's a cliche, but pictures are much better the closer you are to your subject. Even if you're taking a picture of a huge building, zoom in as much as you can to fill the picture with the building. If you know how to use the "macro" mode of your camera, try getting really close to something and taking a picture.

Here's a picture I took of some rain drops on my sister's umbrella:

3. Use a stand. Why didn't I say tripod? Because you can use all kinds of other devices as a camera stand. One example is the gorillapod, which is a tripod with bendable legs. Another great substitute is a bean bag . . . just put the beanbag on a surface, then press the camera down into it. Using some sort of stand for your camera allows you to take shake-free pictures in even the darkest environment.

Here's a picture I took right before the fireworks began in Chicago:

4. Lastly, this is also a cliche, but don't be afraid to experiment and break the rules. One such rule that is usually stated is to keep the sun behind your back. But if you actually face the sun, you can get some really cool effects by creating sun beams and flairs in the pictures. Here's an example:


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