You’re all set up, you’ve got your camera in focus, you snap the picture, and it looks… horrible. What happened? Too much exposure? Too little? Contrast up to high? Why does this happen?!

Well, it could be for lots of reasons. Too many to enumerate in this short of a post. But if it makes you feel better to remember a time before digital, where every photo counted, and you had to wait weeks to wallow in agony over a bad picture, then tell yourself it was once worse than it is now.

Here are 5 tips to help you snap a great picture every time you point and shoot.

1. De-clutter your shot. Like any good real estate agent will tell you, clutter will never sell a house. The same could be said for your photos. Remove surrounding clutter that fuzz up your shot, focus in a little tighter. Don’t be afraid to zoom and focus.

In the Clouds

2. Avoid scenery that doesn’t compel. But wait, what does that mean? We’re not saying not to take pictures of beautiful landscapes, rather, wait until the time is right. It’s all about light source. Also, maintain a focal point in your shot. Scenery can be balanced when thought is put into it.

3. Reduce shake with the shutter (and a tripod). You see a waterfall. You know you want to take a photograph, but you’re also very aware of how it might turn out. Slow down your shutter speed. We guarantee the result will much more pleasing. And besides, you’ve got the time.

4. Don’t let autofocus run amok. Autofocus is amazing. But it’s important that you remain in control in certain situations (like portraits that turn out drab). So for a portrait, focus on the eyes to reduce a dull-looking shot. Switch to manual, adjust as needed. If you must, let AF start the shot, but finish it manually for best results.

5. Snazz up low light. Flash is a useful in many situations. But flash can also curse your shot, especially when you won’t have a second chance. Instead, try combining a few features.

IMG_8994

For example, set your exposure to a bit slower than normal, with just a bit of flash. Or, to avoid taking a picture of the entire area, turn flash completely off, and extend your shutter speed time. So your settings for something like fireworks would look like this: 10-30 secs, f/16, ISO100.

Armed with this knowledge, you can get out there, and stop “wasting” film!