Great point and shoot photography is possible if you learn how to harness the strengths of your equipment and circumvent its weaknesses. The idea that expensive cameras and accessories will make you a better photographer is a myth, which is great news for aspiring photographers who want to get started without investing a ton of money. While better equipment does provide more flexibility, it’s not the only requirement for great photography.

Follow these 7 basic photography techniques for amazing point and shoot photography!

1. Read The Manual

The first step to understanding what your camera is capable of is listed right there in the manual. Many cameras have scene modes designed to adjust the camera’s automatic settings to match your situation. Many years ago as a high school graduation gift, I received a point-and-shoot camera. I was so excited to receive my first camera that I read the manual front to back and took practice photos to play with the shooting modes. In the manual, I learned of macro mode which chooses the best settings for flower photography.  The photo below is a direct result of reading the manual because I had no idea what I was doing otherwise.

The underside of a mushroom
Olympus 740

2. Composition, Composition, Composition

Framing the shot is all about technique. There are a variety of composition rules to all but guarantee good photography. The rule of thirdsframe within a frame, and leading lines are among the most popular techniques for new photographers to master. But, don’t be afraid to break the rules and make it your own.

3. Shoot Subjects With An Appealing Background

One of the limitations of a point-and-shoot or camera phone is a narrow aperture which limits the amount of background blur. With a large depth of field, you won’t be able to blur out distracting backgrounds. The best way around this limitation is to shoot with backgrounds you wouldn’t want to be blurred out anyway. 

4. Utilize Negative Space

Negative space is the area that surrounds the subject and contains little to no clutter; it’s essentially empty. This technique is another way around a narrow aperture. Negative space helps isolate and bring attention to the subject by limiting distractions from the rest of the photo. 

5. Find A Unique Perspective

Get under or on top of things, move closer or further away – keep moving until you find a unique way to capture something ordinary.

6. Avoid Shooting Into The Light Source

The camera will focus on the part of the scene with the most exposure. If the light source is behind the subject, then the subject in the foreground will be underexposed. When possible, simply turn around so the light is behind the camera and exposing the subject.

7. Edit Your Photos

Just a smidge of editing will do your photos a ton of favors. Since point and shoot cameras don’t have the option of shooting in RAW, you won’t have as much flexibility as a DSLR. However, a little bit of cropping and color enhancements can dramatically improve a photo. Go ahead and get it out of your head that professional photographers don’t edit; they do.

Using expensive equipment won’t magically make you a better photographer, so don’t be afraid to practice the basics and discover your style with a phone or point-and-shoot. I encourage you to use the gear you have until the limitations of your gear are what’s holding you back. As a bonus you’ll have discovered your style and have a better understanding of the equipment you’ll need when you’re ready to upgrade.


Point and Shoot Pin
Point and Shoot Pin 2

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