Point and shoot like a pro
Darryl Riediger, manager of Robinson’s Camera in Inglewood, provided some valuable information geared towards novice photographers who want to get the best out of their camera investment.
The first and most important tip is to K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Many point and shoot cameras – and even those cameras that come installed on cellphones – come with so many different features that beginners can easily get overwhelmed.
Riediger advised, “The best way to avoid this is to keep your camera in full auto mode letting the camera do all of the grunt work. Just focus on the shot.”
The Golden Rule
Once users power up their cameras and keep it simple, the next step is for photographers of all skill levels to remember to have a straight horizon and always remember the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a concept that involves dividing a photograph into a 3×3 grid and aligning a subject on the intersection points. This photographic golden rule is generally observed in an effort to discourage placing subjects at the centre of a photo to make it more visually appealing.
According to Riediger, “following this general rule of thumb, beginners who take the time to develop this habit will dramatically improve their compositions.”
Stick With Automatic, at First
The next thing to remember is that beginners should stick to shooting solely on their camera’s automatic or continuous focus mode. Many beginners feel that using manual focus will improve their photography skills, but in reality, the time it takes to adjust the camera’s lens could mean missing a crucial shot. Current camera technology ensures that focusing occurs quickly, but for those who do insist on using manual focus, the only time this is really viable is in controlled environments.
“Manual focus can be used in landscape photography where those beautiful snow capped mountains are not going to move anytime soon,” Riediger said.
Read Your Manual
Novice users should read their user manual thoroughly before operating in full auto mode. As your comfort level rises, you can move onto semi-auto mode, and then manual mode, as required. To start out, take pictures of landscapes in controlled environments, as the ability to take fast-paced, sports shots require time to develop.
“I will usually advise people to concentrate on composition when taking photographs. The camera is only a tool a photographer uses. If your eye can’t see a good photo the camera can’t capture it, because a camera is only as good as the user.”
Live (and Shoot) in the Moment
One last bit of advice for beginners is that they should not delve too deep into post-production photo editing software. Though he has had 18 years of experience with the photo editing software Photoshop, Riediger said that the program is, “still quite daunting.” Beginners should focus on taking the best possible pictures in the moment.”