Introduction What is photography? The history of photography What this site will do for you Light: The most important element Why light is important to a photograph The many types of light Controlling light in your pictures The camera The basic function Types of cameras Choosing the right camera Putting the image together: the Lens How the lens bends light: a tutorial A brief introduction to apertures The variety of lenses Choosing a lens Exposure: a film tutorial How film records an image Understanding film speed Print vs. Slide film Film recommendations Taking Pictures Depth-of-field Apertures and shutter speeds Composition and experimentation: the basics Metering: when you can't guess The many types of picture-taking Photography with a point-and-shoot Accessories Tripods: for when you can't stay still Lens filters Post-processing: after development Scanning photos The digital darkroom Photo and equipment storage
After all of this talk about SLRs, lenses, and sophisticated meters, you should think that your simple point-and-shoot won’t take anything near as good as that big, complex SLR that you saw in the photography store. Wrong! In fact, point-and-shoots may soon be the world’s best cameras. Though most have one simple lens in them, it still exceeds the quality of some zoom lenses for an SLR. In this section, you will learn to take the best pictures with a simple point-and-shoot.
First of all, why can a point-and-shoot be better than an SLR?
There are a few things that can make a point-and-shoot a more convenient camera:
Compact- Point-and-shoots are being made smaller and smaller these days, and are tiny enough to fit in your shirt pocket. This makes it far more convenient when you are doing candid photography.
Light- Because they are very small, and are made of plastic material, they can weigh almost twice as light as an SLR.
Quiet- Point-and-shoots do not have a mirror and a large focal plane shutter (at least most of them), so they are almost silent.
This does not mean you should sell your SLR! Even though point-and-shoots are very convenient in many situations, they do not have support for special lenses. Quite a bit of flexibility that an SLR has is lost in a point-and-shoot.
You may not know it, but many point-and-shoots have autofocus built in the camera. Focusing is main factor you must learn to operate in a point-and-shoot, since its operation is somewhat different than an SLR’s. Everything else, such as composition and lighting, you should know how to do on your own.
Here is how to focus the lens:
1.) Point the center of the viewfinder (usually marked with a "[ [ ] ]") at your main subject.
2.) Press the shutter release button halfway down (not too much, or you may accidentally take a picture!). Some sort of LED should light up, telling that the subject is focused.
3.) Still keeping the shutter pressed, recompose the picture.
4.) Once the scene is properly composed, press the shutter completely down to take the picture.
Well, that’s all there is to taking a good picture with a point-and-shoot! Next up, we will learn about all the accessories available for you camera system.