Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tip Tuesday #2: Do I need an SLR to take good photos?

I guess before we get to what to do, we need to get to making sure you have the right equipment. By the way, the short answer to the question posed is "No". Most professional portrait or event photographers these days do use some kind of digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera.

Why use SLR?
It allows us the maximum amount of control over every aspect of the photo. This is as a result of a couple of things. One is just that professional SLR cameras are made to let you control every possible setting with a huge range of options. The other way that SLR cameras allow more control over the outcome of the photo is in that they allow a photographer to have a full arsenal of lenses at his or her disposal.

And how is a point and shoot different?
Well, the obvious part: a point and shoot has just one lens. You can buy adapters that fit onto the front of a lot of the higher end point and shoots that "convert" that lens into an ultra wide angle lens, or a telephoto lens, or a macro lens. It's my understanding that these filters generally don't use very good glass and therefore using them will result in much poorer image quality, but they might be fun to try anyway.

Secondly, I don't know of any point and shoots that allow for the full range of control that an SLR does. Some simply have shooting modes like "sports", "landscape", or "portrait" that guess roughly what you need and probably do a pretty good job of it. Higher end point and shoots let you do a little more choosing for yourself.

So... what can my point and shoot do?

I can't really answer this for you since I don't know what camera you use. I've certainly not tried a full range of point and shoot cameras. I have had occasion to use a couple different models of Canon Powershot and a Fuji FinePix point and shoot, and can personally recommend them. Both allow you to get out of auto modes and take control of your aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and sometimes ISO. That's quite a bit of functionality and should let you get off to a good start.

Check your manual to see what your camera offers.

And your point?
Well, my point is that if you want to be able to get great images, you need to learn how to control various aspects of the capture. And if you want to learn that, you need to have a camera that will let you do that.

Mind you, if you can't control all of these settings, just about any point and shoot is a capable tool for capturing moments and you can always choose your composition, and if you can work on those two things, you'll be off to a great start, too!

Thanks for tuning into Tip Tuesday here on my blog. Once again, if you have any questions that you'd like answered, feel free to email them to me at See you next week!


Anonymous said...

So cool and so informative!

johnlo said...

Goof post and information Amanda. Thank you.