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Old Apr 16, 2005, 12:39 PM   #1
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So there I was wondering. I just received a cheap'o hp m307 for my birthday, and started exploring its (very few) possibilities. Since my 512mb memstick was defective, I'm stuck with only 16mb to experiment with, so the process is quite slow.

I started reading a bit. So there, I understand point-and-shoot'ers are near full automatic and don't permit a lot of control. For example, at the race track under a bright sun, I don't have much hope of doing a pan on a passing car and getting a blurred background because the auto-whatever device will decide there's just too much light and set the shutter at 1/2000 and freeze it.

So here's my question... Apart from the obvious 'lock focus and then compose' "trick", are there other interresting ways to get 'artsy' effects just by playing with the few shooting modes, the so-called 'iso' speed (duh!) and EV compensation (which too me sounds more like what ISO was to film cameras).

Perhaps someone knows of a nice site, or has a few cool tips?

Thanks
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Old Apr 16, 2005, 2:06 PM   #2
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You can try to learn what IMHO is the most important issue in photography: where to stand when you click the shutter. (And the next most important thing: when to click the shutter.) Learn to look at the background so you don't have a tree growing out of Aunt Edna's head. Very rarely is a height of 5-6" off the ground (eye level) the best height: try croutching, lying down, climbing on chairs, ...

Composition.

For the more technodweebish stuff, get an EXIF reader (maybe one came with the camera) and use it to help figure out why some shots didn't work: typically to long a shutter speed.
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Old Apr 16, 2005, 3:00 PM   #3
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PaulPosition wrote:
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Apart from the obvious 'lock focus and then compose' "trick"...

Perhaps someone knows of a nice site, or has a few cool tips?
Really excellent advice above from Bill Drew. Note that pressing the shutter halfway does more than lock the focus on most cameras. It usually locks just about every setting as well. If you want a darker or lighter image the press halfway trick is a good way to get it.
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Old Apr 17, 2005, 10:26 AM   #4
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If your camera has modes such as portrait, sports, night etc. it's worth experimenting to see what they do. I sometimes use sports shooting indoors because I've found it ups the ISO and my camera only has auto ISO. For panning I'd try night shot mode as it will probably set slower ISO and slowerexposures.
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Old Apr 28, 2005, 2:11 PM   #5
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I still consider myself nearly an exclusive 35mm slide film guy even if I have three digital cameras. My digitals are mostly used for happy snaps but are pressed into service for more serious stuff because in many cases, one of them will be the only one I got. I subscribe to the "always have a camera wit you" idea.

My first bit of advice is to learn how to use your digicam to make the best possible picture given the constraints of the features and specs. Once you know the tool and its limits, you'll be better prepared to go out-of-bounds with the camera.

For example, I shot a wedding using the tools I know -- 35mm. During the reception, in order to get some more personal and up close shots, I used my benign-looking digicam which is far less intimidating to folks and they're willing to be more spontaneous in front of one than in front of a SLR with a 70-200mm f/2.8. When I showed the couple "proofs" some of the shots from the 4 MP P&S were among the couple's favorite. Would I recommend shooting an entire wedding with it? Heck no. But it was the right tool at the time. Since then I feel more free to experiment with the P&S and other digicams I own. It doesn't hurt that Photoshop and no need to spend money processing film is a factor. Also photo editing tools allows me to choose between being creative during the capture process (in camera) and/or during the post camera work (in Photoshop).

Summary: Know and understand and be totally comfortable and predictacle with whatever camera you're using. Get creative later.
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Old Apr 28, 2005, 3:26 PM   #6
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Wheeeeee,

I forgot I posted that.. Thanks for the tips, they make a lot of sense and actually confirm my beliefs that experience will be a (the) strong factor in getting any sort of good results. I'm sure the 512mb card I just got will help a great deal in the 'experimenting' department.

And indeed, getting to know not only the different effects settings have on the results but also how to properly handle the camera, are things I need to work on. I made a few pictures on a (half)cloudy day, smooth shadows, only to find out when looking at exif info that I had the flash turned on. I didn't even saw it at the time, even though some light must have been lit beside the viewfinder..

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Old Apr 29, 2005, 10:54 AM   #7
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What it all boils down to is that it is not the camera that takes the picture. It is person behind the camera. The camera is merely a tool. I have taken some outstanding shots with a point and shoot. On the other side of the coin, I have taken some horrible shots with my D100.

Cal Rasmussen
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