Beginner Photography Tips

Troubleshooting Camera Image Quality


There are a lot of factors that have had an effect on the image quality of your digital images, such as: the external light, the type of subject or the weather situations and so on.

The type of your digital cameras is also important. Each different camera has its own advantages as well disadvantages which can lead to different image quality of the photos. However, it is possible to adjust a certain number of camera settings to enhance the image quality. The following tips will help you a lot in improving the camera performance as well as lower the problems with the photo quality.

Troubleshooting Camera Image Quality

Troubleshooting Camera Image Quality

  • Select the high number of resolution whenever it is possible. The higher amount of resolutions will certainly help you increase the image quality regularly. To make sure that you have understood the resolution levels, you can find them in the camera menu organization. Don’t forget that several models automatically reduce the resolution when you select a specific ratio (for example, 4:3 or 16:9) or use the continuously-shooting mode. However, the resolution is not the only factor affecting the image quality as there are some other factors, for example, the lighting conditions or the amount of camera shake. But, certainly, the higher level of resolution can help you enhance the quality of some images.
  • Make sure to take advantage of any available image stabilization offering with your camera when you must shoot in low light. And among some types of image stabilization, the optical image stabilization should be the most considered. Therefore, if it is available, just make use of this stabilization type when shooting under inadequate lighting conditions (In some cameras, you may not be able to control the optical IS manually because the camera has automatically decided whether to use it or not).
  • If the optical image stabilization is not available, you should attempt to keep your camera firmly in your hands as much as possible when there is a lack of light. The shutter speed must be lengthened in this condition, which may result in the blurriness for images (when there is a slight movement that you involuntarily make during the shutter opening). A tripod is recommended or you may refer to a wall or a doorframe for leaning against to keep the camera steady.
  • When you shoot photos under the high contrast lighting condition – commonly found in the harsh sunlight – you may find “washed out” parts in your images. The flash is often automatically turned off under the strong sunlight, but sometimes, you may adjust the camera to have the flash turned on, even when you are shooting under the harsh sunlight, importantly making use of several “fill” flash in the image. However, the mentioned technique is only useful when your distance from the subject is pretty close. If the contrast setting is available, you can also lower the contrast number when shooting under harsh sunlight as well.
  • The built-in flashes in many low-priced digital models are not really strong. If you don’t have the large flash range enough for a specific shot, you may try setting a higher number of ISO through the menu of the camera. For example, increasing the ISO from 100 to 400 brings you a few more of the flash range. But keep in mind that a higher number of ISO may lead to more noise with your photos. (In some models, you cannot adjust the ISO numbers manually).

Holding Your Camera Properly


If you are having problems with image quality of your camera, you may need to pay attention to the way you handle the camera. The appropriate posture as well as positioning sometimes is not enough, but at least they help to have better shooting results and mitigate the blurriness caused by camera shake.

Below, I’d like to list some tips that suggest the proper way of handling the camera and avoiding the shake.

  • Camera shake is not a strange problem for photographers at the beginning level. It is caused by the slight movement of your camera when you are pressing the shutter button, resulting in the slight blurriness of your images. Sometimes, as the entry-level model you are holding has that performance level that is not enough to help you avoid the slight blurriness. For other cases, perhaps the camera is not properly held, which also cause the shake. Firstly, please ensure that you are keeping the camera by two hands. In additions, you can lean against a wall, a doorframe or a tree to keep your body steady when you are shooting photos, especially in in low light conditions.
  • If there is an available camera’s viewfinder, it will be better than the LCD to frame your photos. You should also keep the camera as close as possible to your body to make yourself firm and stable. The camera shall be in a more stable position when you use the viewfinder instead of using the LCD which would require you to hold your camera at arm’s length, which is less steady.
  • You should use the right hand to make adjustments on the aim as well as the positioning. You will like to “pinch” your camera between your thumb and middle finger if you use a point and shoot model of a thin design. But for a model which is thicker or a DSLR model, you may have your camera wrapped with the last three fingers on the right hand. You’ll find a handgrip or a specialized area to put your finger while handling. This feature is available in the majority of cameras with the large bodies.
  • The left hand can be used to assist the right hand in holding the camera. And you almost can use the palm as a place for the lower left corner of the camera. If the lens is large, you can use the left fingers to support the lens and keep the camera balanced in your hands. If you are using a DSLR camera, you can make adjustments on the manual focus ring or the focal length ring using your left hand fingers.
  • Put the right index finger next to the shutter button. You should not use the tip of the finger, but the flat part of the end of your index finger to hold down the shutter button, which helps reduce the camera shake to the minimum level. Rest your finger on the shutter button and steadily put the pressure, holding down it gently. Don’t “jab” your finger on the shutter button or “poke” at the button.
  • For a model of a small size, pay attention to the place you put the fingers on. Be careful or you may have the flash or lens blocked accidentally or cause the LCD to be smudged if you don’t place the fingers in the proper positions. For instance, small size models usually have the built-in flash at the upper right corner (as viewing the flash from the front) and you may have the flash blocked with the left hand fingers. You can try lowering the positions of the fingers on the body of the camera. In case you don’t see the flash in that position, the focus-assist lamp is often located there instead, so pay attention to the positions that you located your fingers of the left hand.
  • Lastly, you should not shoot photos with one hand, except the case that it is the only way. Not only you may easily drop your camera, but you will find it much harder to hold your camera steady with one hand. Holding the camera unsteadily is one of the major causes for the camera shake. In some certain cases, if shooting one-handed is the only way, you should find out the scenes with the good lighting conditions. When you use one hand for shooting photos, the results will be better in the good external lighting compared to the low light conditions. Don’t forget this, too.

Tips to Shoot Photos in Low Light Conditions

low light photo - Camera Shooting

Use Camera to Shoot Photos in Dim Condition

Obviously, you will want to have the ideal lighting condition for any photos that you shoot, right? The exposure will be perfect thanks to the lighting outdoor, the shuttering speed is quick enough to help avoid the blurriness and you won’t see any bad shadows in your photos? You want all of the above conditions for shooting photos?

Unluckily, you cannot always have the combination of the above perfect shooting options and conditions regarding the lighting aspect. Below, I’d like to list several tips for changing the settings of the camera which are very useful for inadequate lighting conditions.

  • For low light photography, the camera may automatically set the shuttering speed to a lower number, so there will be a higher amount of light coming into the lens to enhance the exposure. However, this slower speed also causes more blurriness in your photos. To deal with this situation, you should use a tripod attached to the camera. If it requires you to keep the camera in your hands, leaning against a doorframe or a wall does helps to prevent the camera shake. By this way, you can hold the camera firmly.
  • If you’re using a point and shoot model, several available scene modes are very useful to bring better photography results. A scene mode like “night portrait” or “night” is the most appropriate for low light photography. Even with some advanced cameras, these types of modes work well.
  • In case that your camera has a viewfinder, you should use it for framing photos. You should limit using the LCD screen if the viewfinder is available. The camera shake shall also be lowered by using the camera viewfinder.
  • If there is an image stabilization feature in the camera, don’t forget to turn this feature on for shooting photos under inadequate lighting conditions. This feature is very useful to deal with any slight shake from your camera.
  • Shooting a moving subject can be very challenging in low light. You’re going to lower the blurriness by one of the two following ways: wait for the subject to lower its speed before you shoot the photos, or you should the subject when its distance directly from you is become shorter. It is easy to get blurrier photos with subject moving over the frame than with the one moving directly toward you.
  • Pay attention to the flash range for your camera. You can easily see this range in the list of camera specifications. If the range is within 12 feet, make sure that the distance of a subject is not out of this range. You cannot obtain the huge benefit from the flash if the dimly lit subject is out of the flash range.
  • If the subject is out of the flash range and you’re not going to be able to come closer together with your automatic model, you should completely turn the flash off. Without the flash, the camera will automatically compensate the light by using the current available light to produce the image. Because of the very slow shuttering speed in this case, a tripod is highly recommended.

Lastly, if you can change the ISO setting manually with your camera, you’d better set the ISO to a higher level. In this situation, not as much light is required for shooting photos. This means that the camera work more nicely in low light. However, you may have photos with more noise with the higher ISO number, especially for photos shot by a digital camera.

Set Up Camera to Shoot Spontaneous Photos


Obviously, the ability to capture the spontaneous photo of once-in-a-lifetime moment shall certainly bring you the most wonderful feelings ever. Like when you’re going to able to capture a valuable moment as your daughter is opening your great gift with the happiness on her face, this photo makes you feel like a professional photographer

To shoot these spontaneous images, your camera must be ready to capture at any times. Or you may miss a chance that just lasts in one second or shorter. This is pretty challenging in photography.

Below, I’d like to list some of the tips that help you to better capture spontaneous moments and express your emotion more in the photos.

  • For a point and shoot model, I recommend you to have the camera pre-focused on the targeted subject by pressing and holding the shuttering button halfway. You can save the time before capturing the moment. There will be less shuttering lag and nicer autofocus results when you pre-focus the subject. This also enables you to put more of your emotion into the photo right as the spontaneous moments are coming.
  • Be sure to keep the camera in hand and prepare yourself to shoot the photo at any times. Otherwise, make sure that at least you have the camera in the room and know its position whenever you need it.
  • In order to get the camera ready at all times, you may need to set the power saving mode in a longer period of time than usual. If the saving mode is often set for 10 minutes, it can be extended to 20 minutes. By this way, your camera will be well prepared for any spontaneous moments. But don’t forget to charge the camera fully. The battery power needs to be enough for making this mode work for you.
  • Try to capture an image from a place where you don’t know in advance. You can easly have more natural and spontaneous subjects when they are not aware of a coming photo. But keep in mind that to avoid making someone upset by your capturing actions without having permission, you should notice everyone in advance about the way you’re going to shoot photos.
  • Different zoom options may bring you more chances to capture spontaneous images. For instance, at times, you’ll need the capacity to shoot nice photos at a short distance, perhaps when you see your child eating the snacks, for example. In other cases, the capability to shoot the entire subject with a long zoom is very nice for capturing a strange movement.
  • But if you are concerned about capturing a spontaneous image, you may want to set a certain zoom length in advance and leave it unchanged. Be sure about the location where the above zoom length can work greatly. By doing this, you won’t have to concern about changing the zoom lens while you are attempting to capture a valuable moment.
  • If there is not enough light to shoot the subjects which are flying, a tripod is recommended. By using the tripod, you can hold the camera firmly even under inadequate lighting conditions and your camera shall be always ready for shooting spontaneous moments.
  • You can have more opportunities to turn a standard image into a spontaneous one by trying various angles. For instance, instead of shooting a standard group image, you may walk down to the side to capture that group at the frame edge, maybe mainly focusing on the ones that are seeing the group. Or, instead of shooting the football players in a football event, you can choose to shoot the interesting emotion on the faces of the coach or the audience. This is nice to create a variety of interesting images.
  • In addition, you can seek for facial reaction after the occurring of an event. While other photographers focus on shooting the event, you can have entertaining photos of spontaneous reaction after the event.
  • Lastly, you should not miss any spontaneous image chances. Let me take an example. For instance, perhaps you are preparing to capture a group family image photo outside the house at 4 p.m. When the whole family are preparing for the group image, the spontaneous moment can be 5 or 10 minutes before. This can be very interesting and more unforgettable compared to the group image. Never forget to be ready anytime as you can.

Tips to Avoid Blurry Photos


blur imageAlmost no one can avoid shooting photos with the blurriness sometimes. Below, I’d like to list some of the tips that can be very useful to help you reduce the number of blurred photos.

Especially, when you are just a photograph with limited experiences and you’re using a point and shoot model which is aimed at the beginning level, you may easily encounter a typical problem – the blurriness with images

This problem may be caused by several reasons, such as bad focus, fast moving objects and the camera shake. As it’s hard to use a software to fix the focusing problems, you should try to ensure the sharpness right from the beginning. If it takes a lot of time to use a software to edit photos with the blurriness, this may cause you considerable frustration with your photography.

Instead, I recommend you to find out more about many different techniques to shoot the images with the right sharpness before encountering any of the above problems. The following tips shall be very useful for preventing you from shooting blurry images.

  • Among the causes, the camera shake accounts for the most typical one for the photo blurriness, especially for a point and shoot model. The blurriness caused by the shake is not so serious, but just slightly noticeable. You won’t see it when viewing photos on the LCD screen of small sizes but it is clear to see in a computer screen of a larger size. To lower the effect of the camera shake, a tripod is highly recommended. In addition, you should turn on the image stabilization functions and shooting in low light should be avoided. If you cannot find a tripod, you can lean against a doorframe to keep the camera firmly. Hold the camera in the closest distance to yourself as you can. Another solution is to frame the image by the viewfinder instead of an LCD screen.
  • With a camera that allows you to manually control the aperture, you can decrease the aperture to increase the depth of field that remains in focus. To decrease the aperture, increase the “f” stop number in the camera’s settings. Keep in mind that using a smaller aperture/larger f stop number will allow less light to enter the lens, so this technique won’t work in a low light photography situation.
  • If the camera allows you to set the aperture manually, it’s recommended that you lower the aperture to have a higher depth of field and the photo is still in focus. To lower the aperture, you can change the “f” number to a higher level. Don’t forget that when the “f” stop number is higher which means a lower aperture, you are limiting the light to come into your lens, so for the photography under inadequate lighting, the above technique does not work.
  • Several beginning photographers may think that they’ve shot a blurry image. But it may be not true. In fact, when they set a higher aperture/low f stop number, this should cause the camera to focus on the subject, and the background is not in the focus. However, the opposite thing may happen, causing the background in focus and the subject out of focus. Try to make sure that you have turned the focus into the right subject. You can pinpoint the focus point by using green brackets while you press the shuttering button halfway to have the scene pre-focused.
  • Noise or the pixels that are not correctly recorded can cause your images blurry when you try to view them at a larger size. You can easily see more noise in photos shot under inadequate lighting conditions. When you attempt to set a higher shuttering speed for shooting photos without enough light, the ISO range is changed up to a higher level to compensate the light, so there is more noise appearing in your photos. In order to avoid noise as much as you can, lower the ISO number to the maximum 400, based on your camera model (You can see very little amount of noise even when you select the 800 or 1600 ISO setting with some high-end cameras).
  • If your lens is of good quality, instead of using the auto-focus, manually focusing the camera lens is recommended to help increase slightly more sharpness for the photos.
  • You may find this tip a bit silly but there is a surprising fact that a lot of your photos with the blurriness are caused by your eye. Some of you may need an eye exam. Clearly, if there are any problems with your eyes, it can affect your photographic results when you focus the lens manually.
  • Clean your viewfinder and LCD frequently to make sure that they are not dirty. Any small smudge appearing in the lens will become considerable in your photo. This is one of the causes for blurry images. If the blurriness appears in a small part of photos only, there is a high possibility that your lens is smudged.
  • If your camera is a DSLR model, be careful with the dust which appears on the camera image sensor. Dust can easily come into your image sensor while the lenses are changed. This is a common cause for making your photos become slightly blurry.
  • Lastly, there may be a little bit of a blur in the camera focusing system. This is more common for budget-priced cameras aimed at the beginning photographers. In this case, you don’t have a pin sharp auto-focus mechanism. Those little blurs are not noticeable in small screens but you can seem them clearly when you zoom the photo on a large computer screen or make large prints.  If all of the tips do not work after you try all of them, it may be because of the autofocus mechanism of a point and shoot model. The images are still nice for viewing and printing at small and medium sizes. In addition, if you have dropped the camera, it may get a little blur due to a slight damage to the components inside the camera. Therefore, try to hold the camera firmly when using it.

Camera’s Hardware to Shoot HD Video


Camera’s Hardware to Shoot HD Video

GE E1680W Camera to Shoot HD Video

GE E1680W Camera to Shoot HD Video

Nowadays, you can easily look for a model, even a point and shoot one with the nice capacity to shooting HD videos. For example, the performance of the GE E1680W is nice. You can see it in the above image.

You seldom find a digital camcorder in the market now when shopping around to find a camera with the HD movie shooting capacity. Instead, it becomes more popular now with a camera that includes bout the capacity to shoot both still photos and movies. If you want to record point and shoot movies, you should do some thorough research before you buy a new camera. By doing this, you can get all features that you want.

How to buy cameras to Shoot HD Video

Below, I’d like to list some tips to create the best of your point and shoot model’s video mode, figuring out the kind of hardware that you make need to take the best advantage of the camera’s video capabilities.

  • If you are in rush, it can be hard to seek for the correct buttons to record a movie. Make sure that you have tested the video mode before you want to use it in a hurry.
  • If you are shopping around to find a camera for the beginning level with the capacity to record HD video, make sure that the camera includes that type of feature. You should also find out about the maximum level of the camera video capacity, commonly 720p or 1080p. And don’t forget to figure out the shooting speed that you can have to record point and shoot videos. You video quality can be negatively affect if the camera offering is not equal to or more than 24 frames in a second.
  • To starting recording videos, usually there are three options with a digital camera. The first option is that you can select the video mode through using the mode dial (this mode is often in the shape of a video camera) and press the shuttering or recording button. The second option refers to using the menus on the camera screen to select and press the video mode. With this mode, the shuttering button enables you to star or stop the video. For the last option, you can find a video shooting button which is dedicated with your camera, which may be shaped in a red dot/recording icon or an icon of a movie camera. You’ll just need to press the above dedicated button to start or stop recording. In cases that you intend to shoot a number ò videos, it’s highly recommended to use this button over others because you can find it easiest and fastest to approach the action. However, the price of a point and shoot models with this button inclusion tends to be higher.
  • Additionally, you should also pay attention to the optical zoom lens for recording point and shoot movies. In fact, this feature may not available in some cameras aimed at the beginning model when you want to use it in shooting HD videos. Therefore, it may require you to come closer and farther from the subject, which may cause you some difficulty when you are looking at your LCD. Even if the optical zoom is available in some cameras for beginning photographers, but the performance of the autofocus system is not fast enough, the quality of your videos may be affected.
  • As a viewfinder is not always included in some cameras, holding the camera firmly during videos shooting can be a challenging task. If there is a viewfinder, you can keep the viewfinder against your eye to firmly hold your camera while recording a video. However, if there is no viewfinder, a tripod can be useful to make sure that your camera can stay steadily.
  • For a lot of cameras, there is a number of movie resolution options that you can select. The image quality is very great when you select the full HD mode which is equivalent to 1080p, but don’t forget to prepare more space to store this type of movie compared to VGA ones. The 720p HD video mode is also very nice, even for displaying the movies on a TV.
  • In addition to the quality, the sound with your videos is also important. Don’t forget to turn on and operate the internal microphone to have the correct sound recording. You may need to find the audio configuration through the menus of your camera. You can also use a microphone outside the camera. But make sure that, a port for using this microphone is available with your camera (this port is not always available in some models for the beginning level).
  • Finally, make sure that you’re using a large capacity, high-speed memory card whenever you’re shooting movies with your point and shoot camera, especially if you’re shooting HD video. Without the right memory card, you could experience problems when shooting movies. Some cameras will simply stop shooting the movie, if they cannot move the data from the camera’s memory storage buffer to the memory card quickly enough, which will be extremely frustrating.
  • Lastly, remember to prepare a good memory card with the capacity to record videos at high speed, especially when you’re recording HD movies. You could get some trouble if the memory card is not the right type for your camera. If the data from the memory storing buffer cannot be fast transferred to the memory card, the camera may stop recording your video. This will be very annoying