10 Tips for Taking Great Pictures with a Digital Camera
While they have been around for a while, a lot of us are still adjusting to using a digital camera instead of the film cameras we grew accustomed to using. Or perhaps you are just getting started taking pictures with any camera.
Here are some general tips for successful digital camera photography. Digital cameras have great advantages that can provide the best possible photos.
1. Get Closer
Most pictures would be better if you take a few steps forward. Ideally, your subject should fill the frame without lots of “empty” space (things of no interest) around it. A great feature of digital cameras is an optical zoom that allows you to “get closer” to your subject without moving an inch.
2. Anticipate the Shot
One thing that takes getting used to is the inherent split-second delay between pushing the button and the picture being taken in many digital cameras. Once you know how your camera behaves, anticipate the moment of the shot and press the shutter button in advance to still get the picture you want. The more pictures you take the better you will be able to anticipate.
3. Try to Use Natural Light
While we may be accustomed to using the flash while inside, we are also accustomed to seeing red eyes, pale faces, and washed out backgrounds. With a digital camera, you can more easily adjust settings to use natural light, even indoors. In fact, many cameras have an Automatic mode that will automatically adjust to use natural light - especially if the flash is turned off.
In manual mode the setting that controls the amount of light while taking the picture is ISO. The higher the ISO setting the more light used, which brightens up dark indoor pictures. Set ISO too high, however, and pictures will come out grainy. Experiment with automatic and manual settings if you would like to be able to capture indoor shots without that flash of bright light.
4. Use the Highest Resolution Settings
Higher resolution means more detail and definition resulting in better quality pictures. This becomes even more important if you are going to make large prints. If you are only going to use the pictures electronically you can scale down the resolution without affecting quality, since most monitor resolution does even come close to capability of a digital camera. However, you can always decrease the resolution from an initial higher setting (for emailing or posting on a web page), but you can't increase the resolution after the picture is taken.
5. Take Lots of Pictures!
Perhaps the greatest advantage of a digital camera is the ability to take lots of pictures, then easily review them later and delete less desirable ones while keeping only the best. Using this approach with film cameras was usually prohibitively expensive between the cost of film and development. With digital cameras, taking 5 or 6 shots doesn't cost anymore than taking 1 or 2. You can try different angles and perspectives. Then you can choose that one great shot instead of settling for the only one available.
6. Delete Unwanted Shots on the Fly
While taking lots of shots is an advantage, snapping lots of pictures can quickly fill up even the biggest memory card. And if you are like most of us, you don't get around to reviewing and copying pictures from the camera as often as you should. So take lots of shots, but then take a moment to delete the ones you definitely don't want while still having a choice between the better shots later. Follow this tip and you can avoid the dreaded “memory full” message at the worst possible time.
7. Buy Quality Batteries
Digital cameras are notorious for consuming batteries quickly. While high-end, brand name batteries cost more, when it comes to digital cameras their long life makes them the best value. Off brand batteries may be cheap, but they will cost more in the long run if you constantly have to change them. Another money saver might be using rechargeable batteries. Once again - quality matters. And while we are talking batteries, keep a fresh set ready to go in your camera case. Batteries tend to die at the worst possible moment, so be prepared.
8. Consider Upgrading Your Memory Card
When digital cameras were new, memory cards were expensive. However, memory card prices have fallen dramatically in the past few years. Shop around for a larger memory card, especially on-line, and you can upgrade your camera's capability significantly for not much money. If you have an older digital camera, you may want to consider upgrading your digital camera as well. The advancement in digital cameras makes the early generations seem like a dinosaur.
9. Use the PC Memory Card Slot or Reader
Many PCs, especially desktops, come with memory card reading slots, or you can buy a Memory Card Reader that plugs into a USB port. This is the easiest and fastest way to transfer images from the camera to a computer. Not only is it faster than connecting the PC and camera with a cable, it also preserves camera batteries.
10. Get a Tripod
One of the main problems people have taking pictures is holding the camera level or steady. Tripods can eliminate both of these problems. Consumer models are inexpensive and easy to use, plus they fold up into a small case for traveling. Of course, tripods may not be appropriate all the time, but on that day when you will be taking lots of pictures, or during that important event when you want to get a great picture, using a tripod can be invaluable.