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Compact, point-and-shoot cameras are convenient, travel-ready, and inexpensive. They're also more capable—and complex—than ever. In Getting Pro Results from a Compact Camera, photographer Derrick Story shows how to use a compact camera to take photos that rival those of far more expensive cameras. Derrick shows how to get the most out the camera's lens as you shoot wide-angle, telephoto, and even macro shots. Derrick also discusses the camera's exposure system and clarifies the differences among ISO settings and scene modes. He also shows how to get the best pictures in a variety of lighting conditions, including making judicious use of the flash to supplement existing light.
Compact cameras are great at close-up photography. Yet many people never take advantage of this capability. You don't need any accessories, because everything is built right into the camera. All you need to know is how to set it. When we see a pretty object, we tend to stand back too far. Just by getting a little closer, we can change the whole shot. I want to show you some examples of what I'm talking about. So here we are and this is a lovely shot, but it's taken at the distance that I would take a people shot and we tend to do that with inanimate objects also.
Now by changing my focus mode to macro, I'm allowed to get even closer to that shot than I am right here. Now how does that work? In normal focus-- and cameras are different, they vary, but in normal focus I can get maybe this close before the camera stats to say you're too close, I can't focus and it'll give me that orange light instead of that green one that we want. But when I switch to Macro Mode, I can get much closer. I get more magnification and this changes the shot quite a bit as you'll see right here.
Here all I did was simply switch to Macro Mode and get closer and the shot is a whole different shot. It's much more intimate. Now there are a couple of things you have to keep in mind when you're working in Macro Mode. The shot here, I took from this angle just like this. So this part is pretty much in focus, but what happens is as you go back this falls out of focus and that's because of the angle of the camera relative to the subject itself. If I change that angle so I am more perpendicular to the subject, then all of this will be in focus and that's what happened on this shot here.
All of this is in focus, because I was shooting it this way instead of like this. Now once you get the shot that you want, keep going. A my old photography instructor used to say, get close and then get closer. So move in and as long as you're getting that green light in Macro Mode then that shot will be in focus. And then get even closer, look at this. So this might not be the shot that you want, but you want that variety of shots so that you can pick the one that you want later on.
So how did you get all that? I know you're all excited about this. So how do you actually set up your camera? Let me explain it to you. First thing you do is you look for the flower icon on the back of your camera or in the menu settings. This changes the lens setting from normal to close-up as I was saying earlier. Hold that camera as steady as possible and gently squeeze the shutter when you take a picture. If you have a tripod, this is a great time to set it up because it's handy for this type of photography. Now take lots of shots, because you're going to have many that miss the mark.
But all you need is one great image and if you mix in a few macro shots as part of your next slideshow, I guarantee you're going to get lots of oohs and ahs.
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