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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.
So when you are out in normal daylight like this, your camera's exposure system does a pretty good job of measuring all the different elements and giving you a good shot. But when you are in extreme conditions, when you have very dark and very light in the same shot, your camera has to choose. And a lot of times it will choose the other thing, the thing that you don't want. For example, here we have Samara standing back here in the in the shade. Now she is in the shade and we have a very bright background.
If I were to take just a shot, as it is right now let the camera do all the work, [00:00:35.6 8] she would be very dark, but the background will be perfectly exposed. So fortunately we have something called Exposure Lock. And what that allows us to do is measure the thing that we want exposed properly, take the shot, and then it lets everything else go the way that it wants. Now here's how it works. All you basically have to do is line up your shot, hold the shutter down halfway on the area that you want exposed properly, and then you recompose.
I am going to do this right now with Samara and show you how this works. You are ready Samara? Samara: I am ready. Okay, so what I am going to do is I am going to line up the shot right now. Now what I'm going to do is I am actually going to point the camera down at her feet, because that's the area where the exposure is more what I want and plus her feet are in basically the same focus area that the rest of her is. So I am going to lock it down halfway there. I am going to press that shutter halfway. Now I am going to recompose and get the composition the way that I want.
I have got it all lined up. Okay, give me a nice smile, Samara. I am going to take that shot. Now just for comparison purposes, because we are going to look at these shots on the computer afterwards, I am going to take another shot without Exposure Lock, and you'd be able to see the difference. All right here we go. Now you can smile. It might not make any difference, but you can smile anyway. There you go. Excellent! So another technique we could use is we could use fill flash.
And if I could turn on the flash, and it would balance Samara out with the background pretty well. The problem is that the flashes on these little cameras are only good for about 8 feet or so. So she is off in the distance or you don't want to work with flash at that particular moment, I think Exposure Lock is a better way to go. It's fast, it's quick, and once you practice it a little bit, it's actually quite easy. So give it a try and then we'll go look at the differences in the studio.
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