Someone in your life still uses an ancient, point-and-shoot digital camera. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s your mom. And at some point, on some vacation, or some holiday dinner, you’re going to shoot with it. Here are my best tips when shooting with those types of cameras.

Charge it.
Your camera is useless if it doesn’t work. Small, bad cameras have small, bad batteries. Get an extra battery. Turn it off between shots. Don’t burn up your charge zooming in and out and editing on-screen—just squeeze off as many shots as you can before it dies.

Put the light behind you.
Light sources should be illuminating your subject. The light should not be behind your subject or between you and you subject. This is not the right time to attempt an artistic silhouette effect.

Get a big SD card and shoot a ton.
Take the same photo multiple times. It’s better to choose the best photo from several similar shots, rather than get stuck with one bad photo. Most cameras have a continuous shooting mode. Turn it on and fire bursts. Remember, you can always delete photos. (Even a pro shooting an event will only use a tiny fraction of the shots. Sometimes ten percent are used; sometimes it’s as low as one percent.)

Use flash when it’s bright outside.
On a bright sunny day, when the sun is directly overhead, use flash to illuminate the shadows that form around people’s eyes. (Now that’s a pro tip I just gave you.)

Don’t use the flash in the dark.
The flash on a cheap digital camera doesn’t work very well, so you should avoid using it unless you cannot get a good photo without it. Always try to see if you can make a photo come out without flash. Or at the very least shoot one with flash and one without so that you can choose later. Over the last few years, cameras have been coming out with special low-light settings—if you can’t find better light for the photo, try that.

Hold steady.
Cheap cameras don’t have very good image stabilization. Hold your camera steady with both hands to avoid blur—especially in darker conditions with no flash. If your shots are still coming out shaky, try bracing yourself against a fixed object like a wall, signpost or table.

Think about composition for exactly one second.
You need to make sure that your photo tells the story you want to tell. Capture your subjects in their entirety. No missing limbs, no half buildings. Also, make sure there’s no distracting heads or protruding objects in the background. Try multiple angles to see which one looks best.

But if you have a good camera (even a decent one), I am still registering for my online/in-person course for photography starting Wednesday, January 15th.  You can sign up with this link and get over 50% off the registration cost, this is valid until midnight EST on January 2nd. Register HERE.

— From: Chip Dizard

Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at

Author: Chip Dizard

Chip is a video professional, author, speaker and apple certified trainer. You can find him directing the live stream at his church or conducting online video training at Web Video Chefs. His passion for training via video comes from years of running his church media ministry department and he wants to empower churches to use video and technology to reach the masses.