Monday, August 23, 2010

Picture Taking - Any Advice?

Last night we had a break in the 100 degree humid weather so I finally got outside and took a few shots of blooms of my Hibiscus. I've wanted one of these for years but was finally inspired to get one when I got a huge, beautiful planter for Christmas. Hibiscus doesn't make it in Virginia winters so it has to be brought in to survive.
I've been trying to learn to take better shots with my point and shoot Kodak Easy Share (C703 I think), but I think I'm realizing that it is just a bad, old camera (even though it's only about 3-4 years old). I'm no photographer but I'm trying to take more artistic, better shots.
I played with the settings and here is what came out best. It was an overcast day and between 6:30-7:00 pm.
This was with a flash, standard mode, auto lighting.

Here is no flash, close-up or portrait (under the scene option) mode (couldn't tell the difference between the 2), auto lighting.

It doesn't look like I can take a really, really close up picture for really fine detail using this camera. (I was trying to capture that middle thingy, but instead got a good shot of my outdoor chair cushion.)

Here are a few shots playing with the white balance (lighting), changing from auto to Tungsten and using no flash and portrait or close-up:

Finally, here I used Florescent under the white balance and again close-up or portrait. I really liked the way this came out.

I have no idea what the differences are between all the options. I really wish I could find a class on using your point and shoot crap camera.
I'm thinking I may need to upgrade the camera. I don't want/need to get into a really expensive totally manual thing w/lenses and such. I would be interested to know if my camera could do the following OR if there is a digital point and shoot that would be able to do these things:
1) focus on a really, really up-close detail
2) take shots faster (I miss A LOT. I'll shoot and what shows up as the picture is in no way what I was trying to capture on motion shots that is)
3) have the focus on something really close while blurring the scene behind it
4) make a picture black and white while popping a color (I have a friend that has a little camera that does this but she said I may be able to do this with mine).
Help from anyone with knowledge or opinions on this would be so awesome. I know you're out there; I've seen enough great shots on other blogs to know!!


  1. Does your camera have a macro setting? That's what I use for close ups. But let's face it, I'm known for garbage, not photography.

  2. If you want a great affordable point-and-shoot, buy a Canon Powershot. usually has great deals on them. I have had 3 and loved them both, but got a Rebel for Christmas. To my knowledge, it doesn't do black and white with the color pop, but you can do that online with photo editing software. As far as free photo editing software to help fix your current photos, try Picasa by Google. Good luck!

  3. This is a learn as you go. Bower Power has great tidbits as well as Fly Through our window. Look them up! Also, my Canon Rebel has lots of fun features and has a 'continuous shooting' option where it will take pictures in succession as long as you are holding down the shutter. Totally cool!

  4. Sara, I will check out the sites and have seen some of Katie's, but need to settle in one evening and do a search for them. I may have that setting on mine but then again, it may be the other camera that the manual is also written for...ugh.
    Carol, let me know if you like the Rebel better. I'm kinda starting to think new Camera from the hubster for Christmas. I've used Photoshop Online but there's not a lot of choice with that one and I've used one called Pixlr, but I'll definitely have to check out Picasa!
    Sunny, I'll have to check the manual. You make garbage look great, darling! (and make me laugh)

    THANKS LADIES!! Better pull that manual out. Christmas is still a ways away!

  5. I was going to suggest the macro setting too. It is usually a button that looks like a flower. Point and shoots are capable of some nice pics once you learn the manual settings. I'd start with some tutorials on aperture (which is how you can get that blurry background look) and shutter speed. Good luck!

  6. Thanks Kristi! I hope to pull out my book tonight and see what I can come up with!