Point & shoot creative control

Couple using a digital cameraIf you have a point-and-shoot digital camera that has no manual or semi-automatic controls, you can still use it for creative photo effects. The techniques may not be as precise as manually adjusting aperture and shutter speed, but can be effective with practice.

Digital camera scene modes have factory optimized settings for shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash and sometimes even focus. By using an appropriate scene mode, depth of field can be adjusted for selective focus and shutter speed can be varied to capture motion.

You can also achieve some of these effects by changing the focal length or the distance the camera lens is from a subject. The best thing to do is practice and experiment.

Useful scene modes for creative control

Increased depth of field

Landscape or infinity mode – Camera automatically focuses on a distant object and maximizes depth of field. Use for photographing land, sea and city scapes and for shooting through glass and fences where focusing can be difficult.

Decreased depth of field

Macro mode – Uses a larger aperture. The amount of depth of field can be controlled by how close you hold the camera lens to the subject and by zooming in or out.

Portrait mode – Control depth of field by zooming in and out and by changing the distance the subject stands from the background. Depth of field decreases the closer a subject is to the background.

Increased shutter speed

Sports or kids and pets mode – Take photos of a fast moving subjects and moving water. Fast shutter speeds are used to “freeze” action. Obtain best results when this technique is used in bright light; pre-focusing is recommended.

You can also up the shutter speed by increasing the ISO, however doing so may increase noise.

When using any of these techniques, use the two-step shutter release button correctly to lock focus and exposure. Stay within the recommend range if you use the camera flash.

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