Let me start this off by saying its going to go deep here and I may bore the living shit out of some people but that’s okay. When I look at a lot of images shot by mongers on their travels I think what the fuck were you attempting to do? It’s total and complete crap and yes, you can make a better image provided you have a camera. I personally don’t like using my cell phone for pictures. This is part photography snob in me and part I hate it because I can’t control what is going on with the camera. I do have an app I recommend which is VSCO for Android and iPhone but admittedly haven’t played with enough to make a judgement one way or another. What I am going to do is give tips on how to use your standard, inexpensive point and shoot camera to get maximum benefit out of it. I don’t care whose camera you buy or the brand. These tricks work for all of them. Don’t worry about megapixels and aperture and the zoom. This is all about getting the most out of the camera.
The first thing you are going to want to do is put the camera in Program Mode. You may need to dig around the camera menus or read the manual. Once its in Program Mode it will stay there unless you set it back. Program Mode allows you to control some of the aspects of the camera. Mainly around metering and exposure compensation. Don’t worry about ISO. The camera will handle that and on a point and shoot you aren’t to be able to control aperture so don’t bother. You also want to disable auto flash and set it to disable. You don’t want the camera firing flash unless you want it to.
Now that the camera is in Program Mode you need to set the metering. This is the key to maximizing the camera and getting the most out of it. Metering is just a fancy way of saying how the the sensor in the camera sees the light that is coming through the lens. There are three metering modes and they are standard on every camera known to man. Sure some cameras have more modes than others but these are the basic three. The first is evaluative metering and it reads the light of the whole scene coming through lens. In theory is gives you an even representation of light across the image. The next is center weighted average. This is a fancy way of saying it will weigh the center of the image and balance it out with the rest of the image but the center object would be the brightest in the image. The final is spot metering. This meters the spot you point the camera at and only that spot.
You want to set your camera to spot metering. This is really where the magic happens on a point and shoot camera and the biggest photography tip I can give you. Now there are some rules you are going to need to follow here and its worth the time to learn it to make outstanding images. I won’t lie and tell you at first its going to be frustrating but once you master it you are going to be pleased with the results.
To meter your subject and get your focus points on the camera BEFORE snapping the picture you want to half press the shutter button. This allows the camera to read the light and grab focus. Do not press the shutter button yet! Remember with spot metering it reads the light at the exact point you point the camera at. So as an example you are shooting your jizz on a girls ass or tits half press the shutter and let the camera meter the light. If it looks good snap the picture. If you are thinking its too dark or too light that’s fine. Release the shutter and then point the camera at an area near your jizz that is either darker or lighter. Remember that spot metering works on whatever you point the camera at which is why you half press the shutter. So if the jizz is too dark point your camera at a bit darker spot and half press then keep your finger at half press and move the camera back to your jizz shot. The jizz will be brighter now because the camera metered against something darker. The reverse of this concept is true for shit too bright. If you find your jizz is glowing in the dark then point the camera at something brighter, meter the shot then still half pressing the shutter bring it back down to your jizz. It will be darker now because you metered against something bright.
I am sure you are confused on why you would want to point your camera at something other than your jizz shot before taking the picture. The key to all this is light. Photography is nothing but the capture of light in its most simplistic form. Your job as a photographer is to use light to your advantage and dictate to the camera how you want to capture it. Remember that sensor are programmed by engineers not photographers who are going to use algorithms versus what your eyes and brain can process. So by spot metering to other places and then bringing your camera back to its intended target means you now have complete control over the light and how the camera sees it.
Along with spot metering is exposure compensation. What is this you say? Well exposure compensation takes whatever the camera metered and adjusts it to either brighter or darker depending on how you use it. Most cameras allow you to move the exposure 3 stops in either direction. I would explain what a stop is but lets just say it gets brighter or darker by an increment of up to 3.
So say you are shooting your favorite building in a “developing nation” at high Noon. The sun is harsh and you have way too much light coming into the sensor regardless of where you meter your light from. To combat this you go into your exposure compensation and start dropping it down so the camera stops absorbing so much light. This effectively darkens your image for your. It may take a few snaps to get it right but in the end you will be rewarded with the a picture that isn’t pure sunlight and some shadow of a building. The reverse can be used if its too dark and you don’t want to use flash. Bump up your exposure compensation until you get a clean image. The one reminder about exposure compensation is remember to set it back to 0 after you have finished so you aren’t walking around over or under exposing your shots.
Speaking of flash don’t use it unless you absolutely have to on a point and shoot. Full on flash tends to be harsh on your subject highlighting areas you don’t want to. It will also bounce off walls and ceilings causing the light to be uneven. Unfortunately you can’t use a technique of bouncing flash on a point and shoot because you have no control over its placement. A bounce flash is where you have the camera pointing one way and the flash pointed at the ceiling or wall. Light reflects off of surfaces so instead of a full on blast you get a nice even light coming off a larger surface which helps diffuse it. The only time I will recommend use a flash is if you are taking a picture in direct sunlight and you have no option of moving it out of it. You can use the flash to even out the sunlight and create a uniform lighted look. Unless you practice your ass off with this skip it. Just say flash is evil on a point and shoot and move on.
My final piece of advice to anyone with a point and shoot or hell, even a phone taking your pictures is don’t hold the camera in what is called the stinky diaper pose which is arms fully extended with the camera at the end. Flat out you don’t have stability as your center of gravity has shifted. Bring the camera closer to your body so your center of gravity is there. The closer the camera is to your body the more stable your camera is and stability means less shake when you take the picture. Most shots are blurred because you moved. This can be caused because the shutter is slow to compensate for lack of light or you twitched when you should not have. Remember this. Cradle the camera in your hands and bring the camera towards your body and then lock yourself into position and only move your finger to finish pressing the shutter button since you already half pressed to lock the metering. This drastically reduces the shake in the camera and gives you a cleaner image.
I hope I haven’t lost everyone but I have been asked in the forums and in other forms of communication on how to maximize your shooting experience. I know the above sounds like a lot and I tried to put it into terms everyone can understand so that it makes sense. If you think its worth taking a picture of then take the time to get the best picture you can.