Controlling these dimensions can be especially difficult on an entry level point-and-shoot camera, because many of such devices go on “Auto” mode. In this article, I want to show you how you can in fact control aperture and shutter speed in a simple point-and-shoot to produce the kind of pictures you want. Just because you’re not wielding a state-of-the-art digital SLR, does not mean you can’t get your aperture or shutter speed settings right!
- Make Use of Auto Modes
Now, to start off, let’s assume you have a point-and-shoot digital camera. Now, the first way to establish control over aperture and shutter speed is to make use of the camera’s auto modes! If you’re an intermediate level photographer, you may frown at this, but really, those camera modes in some ways help you establish the settings you need. For example, if you’re shooting a sports scene (which calls for a fast shutter speed), select the Sports mode. If you’re shooting a night scene, then shooting under Night mode will automatically set you shutter speed to slow. If you’re after a good portrait shot, then select this mode so that the camera can give u a shallow depth-of-field. If you’re shooting a landscape, allow the camera’s auto mode to give you a wide depth-of-field.
Sure, using the camera’s built-in modes may sound basic, but it does work to some extent. So do try it out!
- Upgrade Your Point-and-Shoot Camera
Next, remember that not all point-and-shoot cameras are made the same. These days, good point-and-shoot cameras like the those from Nikon and Canon feature pretty good control over aperture and shutter speed. Many of them have aperture priority (AP) mode or shutter priority (SP) modes. In AP mode, you specific an aperture size you want, and the camera automatically selects a shutter speed to match. It’s sort of like a “semi-automatic” setting. The same goes for the SP mode. You specify a fixed shutter speed, and the camera automatically selects an appropriate aperture size for you. Of course, the ultimate in aperture and shutter speed control can be found in digital SLRs – where you can get down to all sorts of aperture and shutter speed combinations. However, you’d have to pay a hefty premium. For the average user who prefers a point-and-shoot camera, my recommendation is to get one of the slightly better ones which allow you to control via aperture priority or shutter priority modes.
- Change Your Lighting Conditions
The last tip for photographers users who want to control aperture and shutter speed on a point-and-shoot camera is this – move your shot somewhere else. You see, very often, we are fixated on taking a photo from a particular vantage point and ignore the fact that we can move. This is really one of the best tips – if you find yourself at a odd vantage point which is not going to give you great lighting in your photo, then perhaps the problem is not aperture or shutter speed. Perhaps you just need to move to a new location with bright sunlight or a good light source and you’ll be able to get a good shot. Another option is to wait for another day and attempt the same shot again, when lighting conditions have improved.
In summary, we all know that controlling aperture and shutter speed is very important, even in point-and-shoot cameras. I’ve shown you some tips on how you can control these dimensions using a simple, basic camera, e.g. through using some standard auto modes, or aperture and shutter priority modes. Try practicing these concepts and tips so that you get better at snapping great pictures, even with a point-and-shoot camera. Until next time, here’s good luck to you in your photography adventures!