Lightning Photo by Eli
This was not a good night for grilling as anyone can see, but my son did have a great time playing around with my Canon PowerShot camera. I showed him a few tricks, and he spent about an hour outside capturing the storm. He got a number of great photos, and you can too - without splurging for a $1000 camera.
Tips for Making Good Family Memory Photos with a Point-and-Shoot Camera
Friends sometimes tell that they wish they had a nice camera so they could take terrific pictures at family gatherings. It really is great to capture the memories. I know I enjoy looking back through the blog here and seeing all the food and fun.
Most of the Barbecue Master photos are actually made on an inexpensive Canon Powershot camera. That’s a basic point-and-shoot digital camera and not a high end camera. I have access to the Canon Rebel (a digital SLR), but I generally go with the grab-and-go camera for quick pictures.
A digital SLR is wonderful, but it takes much more effort to get really high quality photos. If you’re in auto mode, then you won’t see much difference between the expensive camera and the point-and-shoot. So, if you don’t want to read the instructions and play around with the settings, then the $800 and up camera wouldn’t be the best pick.
Also, the high end cameras are much heavier if you’re carrying them around your neck instead of tucking them in a pocket, purse, or backpack like a point-and-shoot.
With point-and-shoot digital cameras, there are a few little tricks to getting decent photos . . .
First, it really does help to have a stabilizer built into the camera which is why I went with the PowerShot Canon. Yes. You can find point-and-shoot cameras cheaper, but you need a steady hand, unless you like blurry photos.
Learn the menu. You can get by with the auto mode most of the time, but there are situations where little tweaks will make all the difference. I adjust for lighting under florescent lights, so people do not look yellow. I also turn off the flash for some shots. If it’s dark outside, you have to be really close for the flash to actually work. Otherwise, you have bad photos as I can attest. With the low lighting, you need to hold very steady. You can also get a mini tripod which helps for those kinds of photos.
The main tip I would give is to take LOTS of photos. It’s not film. You don’t have to pay to have the pictures developed. So, shoot away. That increases the likelihood that you’ll have a nice collection of good pictures. If you’re just glancing at the review screen, you will miss focus issues, red eyes, and eyes closed. So, always take way more shots than you plan to edit at the end.
Speaking of photo editing, that’s a grand idea. It does make a difference. Allow extra space around the subject your photographing. Then, you have some wiggle room on cropping. Many sins can be corrected with a photo editing program.
I’m not a professional photographer though have sold some of my best pictures with magazine articles. So, these are just the kinds of things that the typical person would need to know about taking nice family party pictures.
For some more advanced tips (but still quite easy to understand), check out Making Party Photos by Bob Kovacs. He’s coached me for a couple of years and is the one who suggested the Canon PowerShot camera which I love.