Three Easy Tips for Taking Better Pictures with your Point-and-shoot Camera

Story: A famous photographer attended a dinner party put on by a famous chef. When the photographer entered, the chef said, “I love your photographs, you must have a fabulous camera.” When the dinner was over and it was time to leave, the photographer said to the chef, “The was meal was marvelous, you must have a wonderful stove.”

It’s not what you have (as far as fancy camera equipment) but what you do with what you have that matters.

I do subscribe to this idea. In fact, you’d probably be very surprised to know that many of my art pieces first begin from images taken with my point-and-shoot camera; aka ‘purse camera.’

Taking better pictures is all about training your mind to see differently. The normal way we perceive the world is with large, expansive vision. We ’take everything in’ when we look around. To improve your images, you must train your eye to see how the camera sees. This is basically narrow down your vision into a rectangle shape…paying close attention to every area inside of that rectangle.

Here are three easy tips to improve your own point-and-shoot camera results.

1. Time of day.

This graphic shows how the light during certain times of the day can cause distraction within the image. At 7:30 am, there is a big bright spot in the left corner. Our eyes naturally go to the lightest spot in the image first. My optimal light choice is at 3:30 pm because the light is even. If I had a person sitting in one of those chairs, their face would be the lightest spot.

2. Rule of Thirds.

Learn to place the subject of your image some place other than dead center.  If you are taking a landscape picture, place the horizon in the top 1/3 of the frame.

3. Camera Cropping.

original image and cropping both horizontally and vertically

This graphic shows the full frame from the camera. I deliberately took it this way so I would have the option to crop it horizontally or vertically later. You can greatly improve your images if you crop within the camera – get closer to your subjects to minimize distractions.

A fun experiment: take pictures of the people in your contact list with your cell phone camera. Save the image as part of their contact file. In order to see their faces clearly in your list, you’ll have to get pretty close up.

Have fun taking better pictures!

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