Hints for Simple Camera Users

1)  Keep the camera and the subject still.

Especially if working outdoors use a tripod and set the camera for time-delay release to reduce vibration. Hold the subject with suitable sticks, wires, clips etc but take care to keep them out of view

2)  If you want all the subject to be in focus keep it parallel to the camera.

This ensures that all the subject is about the same distance from the lens

3)  Try to use diffuse sunlight or shade rather than bright sunlight.

Especially in the case of plants and flowers the colours come out truer and there is less chance of parts of the image being over-exposed and burned out

4)  Try darkening the exposure slightly.

Except on some full automatic systems it is possible to adjust the exposure so it is slightly under-exposed (darker). This tends to give a truer and deeper colour

5)  Take care over the background.

When concentrating on a subject it is easy to not notice a messy background until you see the final result! Try to take a picture from a viewpoint that gives a simple background. Consider using a piece of plain card behind the subject (this also helps correct automatic focussing). [Beware:  Different coloured backgrounds can change the apparent colour of the subject itself!]. For indoor photographs try changing the angle of illumination to get both a suitably lit subject and a dark background

6)  Try standing back and using the telephoto setting.

Most cameras have a fairly powerful telephoto setting and will allow you to focus on your subject from much further away and still produce a close-up effect. This can often make the subject stand out well from the background and, in the case of butterflies etc, reduces the chance of frightening them off!

7)  Try going in close from directly above or underneath.

Even simple cameras can produce exciting patterns and effects by doing this

8)  Take a quick shot before the subject moves.

Take an insurance “grab shot” as quickly as possible and then try to go closer and get a larger image. This avoids a wildlife subject escaping before you get any record

9)  If you can’t get close enough, try cropping the image and enlarging it afterwards.

Most cameras now use high numbers of pixels so even if you enlarge up a relatively small part of the image there are still enough to give an acceptable result for projection or small prints