Love your P&S

I wrote this page as a guest article for Chez Spud’s camera club…

Love Your Point and Shoot!

My P&S

Anyone who has followed my work for awhile will know that my obsession with photography started with my modest point and shoot camera.  I had always had a 35 mm film camera until 2000 when I got a brand spanking new all digital camera. My husband convinced me it would be ideal to have for our honeymoon that year. Boy, was that camera fun! I went through a handful of digital point and shoot cameras before finally aquiring my first DSLR camera in early 2008.

Having a DSLR is a necessary tool for the serious amateur photographer. Such things as night photography, controlled depth of field, and soft water, are not possible, or not as successful, when using a simple point and shoot camera. However, that being said, a point and shoot is still very useful in creating beautiful images. Often times having the  limiting factors makes the user of such cameras more creative. Let’s talk about that. How to be creative in using your point and shoot camera!

Point and Shoot cameras are small:

Westfield Mall, SF

 What’s so great about that?  Well, a number of things… For one, a P&S camera is not as noticeable as a large clunky dslr camera. Take advantage of this fact by snapping candid shots of interesting people on the street, the insides of street cars and subways, restaurants, concerts, anywhere that might be of interest. I have found that carrying my P&S in my purse allows for some great sneaky photo opportunites like this shot inside the Westfield Mall in San Francisco :)

Dressshop sm

Or how about his shot from inside a girly dresshop in San Francisco. You can actually see me sneakily taking the shot in the mirror. By the way, I processed this one with a little extra color and used the anistrophic filter in Photoshop.


 Make use of the display screen: 

Secret Garden

 Typically with the dslr camera the photographer uses the view finder to compose the shot.  However, with a point and shoot, it is much easier to just use the display screen on the back of the camera. Sure, using the screen uses some batterly life, but it does allow for composing some great shots.  For instance, have you ever seen a photographer lying on the ground trying to get that perfect low angle with a big dslr?  Be a little less conspicuous by simply setting your point and shoot on the ground and using the screen to view from a distance and see if your shot is right. If you have a flip out screen like mine it will make this even easier.  Low angle shots are easy and fun with a point and shoot!


P&S have GREAT Macro lenses!

If you own a dslr you know that purchasing a macro lens is no inexpensive investment. They’re hundreds of dollars. Heck I still haven’t been able to get one although it is on my list.



 BUT, the macro feature on most point and shoot cameras is excellent! Seriously! If you are a point and shoot user make use of your macro feature. Macro means you can take a very closeup image of a subject such as a flower. All you need to do is push a button, or set the dial on your cam, to a setting that looks like this:

After pushing the button or setting the dial, get really really close to you subject until you see it become in focus on your display screen and then shoot! With the macro feature, compounded by your camera’s small size, you can achieve macro results that rival dslr users :) Try some interesting angles on subjects like these:

Powershot macro montage

Pump up your images!

Do you have Photoshop? If so there are many many things you can learn to do. The world wide web is full of tutorials on how to process your images and most techniques can be Tres Expressif

applied to your point and shoot images. For instance, you can contour one image over another, like the Tres Expressif picture to the right. 


If you have a small tripod you can even play with cloning by taking a few different shots of yourself, or someone else, in a single scene, and then overlaying them. Check out my first mini clone to the left :)

Hey, did you know that you can even do HDR with your point and shoot?  Well you can! Yes, even if you do not have Photoshop. We all know how expensive photoshop is. If that is not an investment you can make you can make a smaller investment in a program called Photomatix that will allow you to tonemap and hdr your images.  Generally HDR is created from RAW files which unfortunately point and shoot cameras do not support. But, as long as you can take 3Monumental exposures, or duplicate 3 exposures in ANY editing software (this means making 2 extra copies of your shot and making one a little darker, and one a little lighter) you can make an HDR using Photomatix. Here is an example of an HDR from a point and shoot image.


 In conclusion…

Point and shoot cameras are fun! Let your imagination go wild and don’t let intimidation by the dslr users hinder your creativity. Remember, your point and shoot camera has many assets like being small and inconspicuous, and it is built with a great macro lens. Plus you can process like the grownups with a little dedication and learning.

Now get out that point and shoot and start shooting!

8 Responses to “Love your P&S”

  1. This is a great article Amber. Seriously amazing how you really got some exceptional stuff from your point and shoot. It really proves your talent as a photographer. Now I’m thinking, should I sell my DSLR and buy me a P&S instead. Lol. ;)

  2. […] Amber Richards: […]

  3. Very nice article. A friend sent me here because I shoot only with a 5 year old, 5 meg Panasonic point & shoot. I’ll be upgrading in the next month or two, but probably only to a 4/3rds format camera, like the Panasonic GF1 or the Olympus E-620. Anyway, drop by my blog if you want to see what I’m pulling out of my little camera.

    The Lazy Photographer

    • Thank you for coming by. My point and shoot (which I still use) is also only 5 megs, but I love that thing. To be honest, I think I was more creative when it was my only camera…although I do love my slightly more sophisticated cam too. hehe… I think photography, however you do it, is so addicting and wonderful.

  4. I absolutely love this post! Thank you for sharing =)

  5. This is a truly outstanding posting Amber and with such a wickedly interesting feast of knowledge thrown in for good measure, I like the many disciplines that you apply to create such excellent photographs and the pictures that you have offered here are always of a high quality, which proves that you are a bit of a perfectionist…

    You have certainly come a long way since those early point and shoot cameras but you know, I do enjoy all of your work and your postings are always equally fun to view…

    Be very well now my wickedly fine friend
    and do have a lovely start to your week :)

    Androgoth XXx

    • Awww what a nice comment. Thank you so much Androgoth. You’re too nice to me ;) Sometimes I feel like my old point and shoot forced me to be more creative… I was resistant for a loooong time to getting a real dslr, but once I did it sure opened more doors of opportunities for me. I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist. I try not to take it all so seriously, but it’s hard for me not to ;) Hope you’re having a real nice week!

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