Introduction: Choosing and Using a P&S Camera
This instructable will show you what to buy and how to use it. I use my $89 Samsung S630 to take a lot of my photos. The picture below was taken without any special equiptment.
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Step 1: Choosing a Decent Camera
Although you may want that new shiny DSLR camera you have to take into account if you have enough experience to operate it. If you are like most people a P&S camera will work just fine. My current camera was bought in a hurry. We were in Florida at Beaches 'n Cream eating our Kitchen Sink (a large bowl of ice cream that can be split among 8 people). Then my sister reaches over the table and spills her water all over the table. My mom had just taken her camera out of its waterproof casing. And you know the rest. She bought me a new camera so we could still have those special memories in Florida. Anyway we went to Circuit City and bought the cheapest camera we could find.
I'm not saying that this is the best way to choose a camera but it worked for me. My suggestions would be to check out all the cameras in your price range, play with them until the guy running the camera department starts looking at you with curiosity. Try taking pictures of your thumbnail if you are going to use it for macro. Take pictures of that shoplifter running out of the store to see if it blurs at all.
See steps 2 and 3 for more in depth explanations of what you might want to look for.
Step 2: Batteries!!!
Another thing you may want to take into account is the type of batteries it uses. Although many cameras still use AA and AAA bateries there are those that use the serial number batteries (batteries that have such a long name it looks more like a serial number than a battery). I would suggest buyiong a camera that uses AA batteries because you are more likely to find AA batteries rather than an S6732097 batterie at a nearby Wally World.
I would also recomend to buy rechargable batteries. They cost more up front ($7.50- $12 for four) but they will last you a whole lot longer than a conventional alkaline battery. This will also keep them from landfills as well.
Step 3: Memory Cards
Find a camera that uses a card you already own. If you haven't previously owned a digital camera then I would suggest a camera that uses an SD card. SD cards are cheap (about $12 or less for a 1 GB) and work with most cameras, so you can get a new camera not having to worry about any new memory cards.
Another nice thing is that they make an SD Eye-fi card. These cards have a capacity of 2 GB and will upload your pictures to Flickr or Photobucket whenever you are in a wifi hotspot.
Step 4: Tripods
Tripods are normally large and clunky, but they are usually essential to take a great picture. Here are some instructables on smaller less clunky tripods.
The Bottle Cap Tripod- This one is very nice if you always have a bottle of water. I myself don't usually have a bottle of water, so I don't use this one as much.
Bendable Tripod- This is the one I use most often. It is quite simply some tape, wire and a bolt. It is easy to make and has many more uses than the other tripods.
String Tripod- This one is nice because all you do is take it out of your pocket, screw it into your camera and step on it. Now you have a monopod. As it describes in the instructable you can make the string longer and add a cavelier clip to an extra string to make it a true tripod.
I've made each of these tripods and have concluded they are all really nice, thanks to "theRIAA", "shoeBlade", and "origamimarvin" for these instructables.
Step 5: Camera Bags
Now that you have your camera and your fancy DIY tripod it's time to look for a bag. I have two bags for my camera. one for those time I don't want to drag around a tripod and one were I have to drag around a tripod.
Step 6: Macro Settings
On most camera's the macro setting is a little flower. To turn it on just press that button or if that doesn't work refer to the manual. Then just snap your picture.
But wait, what about the rule of thirds, you ask? Well if you don't want to be arrested by the Photo Police then here's a trick. Just hold the shutter half-way as suggested above and just move the camera until the main object is obeying the rule of thirds. And finish pressing the shutter.
Step 7: Lighting
Not the most exciting topic in the world, but an important one none the less. Lighting is important when taking pictures. If you have too much the picture will be washed out. Too little and the picture will be too dark to see. Light also affects your camera's auto-macro settings. I have read that "Golden Hour" (about 1 hour before the sunrise and after sunset) is the best time to take pictures.
The "Golden Hours" aren't my favorite times to take pictures because they usually come out having an orangish glow on them. Which makes a nice picture but not if you want to see their face.