Compact cameras (the point and shoot kind that fit in your pocket and have one fixed lens) are budget friendly and easy to travel with. Generally speaking, you just set it to auto, point it at something and press the big button right? But some times you want that extra bit of clarity in your pictures – a bit more quality or deeper colours. Here are a few easy tips to get the best out of even the most basic cameras!

Check the image quality settings


Mega Pixel Difference

Image at 21MP (zoomed in)

Mega Pixel Difference

Image at 4MP (zoomed in)

[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]First it’s a good idea to check if the camera is set up properly. Go to the camera’s menu

(on most cameras there is a button on the back marked menu but if not, check your manual). Look for an option to change the picture size; This might be given in dimensions (e.g. 4000×3000) or mega-pixels/MP. Change this to the largest available option. You can see the difference this makes in the two photos.

There is usually also a setting for image quality. This will have options like normal, fine, super fine, or N, F, SF. Again, you want the highest – fine or super fine.[/twocol_one_last]

Check the ISO settings

[twocol_one]Have a look for an option called ISO. This is how much the camera amplifies the light that hits the sensor. For point and shoot use, this is often best set on automatic. However in some situations you may want to have a play around with it. The higher the ISO number, the more the camera amplifies the light. So when you are taking photos indoors or somewhere dim, you should try a higher number. Outdoors on a bright sunny day you should use a lower number like 100. When using a larger number, the camera makes more mistakes, resulting in grainy dots called “noise”, so it is important to use the lowest ISO number you can get away with.

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ISO comparison

ISO 200

ISO comparison

ISO 12800


Use a tripod


Use a Tripod

Hand held shot in poor light

[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]OK, so if you’re not a photographer you probably won’t have one of these to hand. BUT, have a look at your surroundings. is there something you can rest the camera on? If the light is dim where you are taking the photo, the camera’s shutter has to stay open longer to take in more light. It may feel like your holding it really still but even the slightest movement will make your photo appear less sharp. put your camera down on a wall or something while you take the shot. Even better, you can use the camera’s timer function so that you can’t wobble it when you press the button![/twocol_one_last]

Position the light

[twocol_one]Always shoot with the light to your back if possible. This will mean that the subject is well lit and avoid glare on the camera lens.[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]

Lit from behind

When the light is behind details become obscured


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