May 27, 2006

My Number 1 Digital Camera Tip

If you're like the vast majority of digital camera owners I talk to, you're one of the many that has a camera with features they don't use, or have forgotten how to use.

Nearly all of you (that I speak of) shoot in AUTO mode. You get decent photos most of the time, but sometimes you just know the shots could be better if only you had set this or that on your camera.

I'm not going to talk about all the bells and whitles your camera has here and when to use them. It is better to get to know them one at a time. You will remember what they do that way. What I do want you to do starting today is STOP USING AUTO.

That's right. Say good-bye to the AUTO setting and never use it again. Never you say? NEVER. There is a much better setting on your camera called PROGRAM.

PROGRAM is like AUTO on steroids. PROGRAM still does many of the things AUTO does, it just lets you do MORE! I want you to try putting your camera on PROGRAM and walk around the house taking a few shots. Notice anything? Probably not, unless it is dark indoors. We'll talk about that in one second.

That's the thing. PROGRAM still does auto metering, auto focusing, auto everything pretty much. What is didn't do was turn on the flash automatically. You now have that control. You decide when or when not to use flash, and flash is one of those tools that can make a huge difference to photos, but AUTO mode is not intelligent enough to know when to utilize flash best. You are.

Take outdoor shots for instance. I'll bet you have tons of photos of friends or family in a grouping with the sun shining down on their faces. There's nothing wrong with the shot but that darned sun can cause less than flattering shadows on peoples faces. If instead YOU "knew" that flash would fill in those shadows and create a fantastic shot and YOU decide to turn on the flash yourself. Wow! Perfect shot!

So, now that you have gone PROGRAM mode instead of AUTO, you have more control over a simple decision like the flash. You know best when to use flash, not the camera.

There's another great benefit of using PROGRAM mode and I'll soon write another article about that. In the meantime, give PROGRAM mode a try. You will be amazed by the results. If you aren't, you just haven't got the knack of it yet.

Learn and expand your photography skills, one by one.