Digital Crave

10 Great Digital Camera Tips And Tricks

Digital Crave

View gallery


Nikon Mode Dial

Digital cameras have been around for years yet even those on their first—or fifth—camera will take better photos and videos if they follow these simple pointers.

Check Your Settings Before You Press the Shutter

No matter if you have a basic point-and-shoot like the Canon PowerShot 300 HS or an advanced Nikon D7000 DSLR, the first thing you absolutely must do is check your camera settings right after you press the "on" button. The last time you used it might've been at night or indoors and you left the settings for that type of shot. Or your kids/partner/whomever was using it and fiddled with the buttons and dials. This can ruin your next series of shots if the conditions aren't right, perfect for a Homer Simpson D'oh! moment.

Make sure you start off in Auto/intelligent auto then make the changes you like—if any at all. Many of today's newer cameras have very sophisticated intelligent auto settings. Make sure you use them to avoid "shoulda coulda" moments.

Speed Up Your Camera

One of the biggest camera complaints—especially for affordable compacts—is speed or lack of it. You can't turn a Focus into a Ferrari but you can enhance shot-to-shot time so you aren't twiddling your thumbs waiting for the camera to take another photo.

First find the "burst" or continuous mode in the menu system and engage it so the camera automatically clicks as fast as it can. Then make sure you disable the Review Photo setting which automatically puts your last image on the LCD screen for you to check out. These two changes will make you feel like you have a new camera. And while you're at it, make sure you have a "speed rated" memory card which will also improve response as it takes less time saving images to the card. Since they're so affordable, look for Class 6 or greater SD cards.

Great Portraits—Almost Every Time

View gallery


Flash up with Canon 260 HS

Your camera's built-in flash should be used for more things than indoor birthday parties. The next time you're taking a portrait, make sure the flash is set to "Fill Flash" or "Forced Flash," depending on your specific model. Now the flash will fire when you press the shutter and evenly illuminate the targeted face, eliminating any shadows.

Also use this setting when you're outdoors at the beach or a picnic, especially if there's strong sunshine and harsh shadows. Simple but it works like a charm.

One of the Biggest Things To Avoid

Digital Zoom. Although you can extend your camera's basic zoom using this feature your pictures will look awful. With a digital zoom a center portion of the view screen is enlarged, adding loads of yucky digital artifacts especially at extreme ranges. Make sure it's turned off.

Battery-Saving Tricks

There's nothing worse than a dead battery at the critical moment. Obviously, charge your camera overnight before you hit the streets. However there are ways to squeeze some extra life from your battery if you see a warning. If your camera has Wi-Fi or a built-in GPS, turn them off completely. Also if you have optical image stabilization, turn that off too. You may get a shaky shot but at least you'll have something.

Turn down the brightness of the LCD screen too. Remember that Review Photo setting mentioned earlier? Make sure that's turned off as well. Don't turn your camera on and off in hopes it'll last longer—it won't as you use more juice booting up your camera. Also most cameras have a sleep mode; cut the time to around a minute.

Turn This On

Grid Lines are hidden on many cameras and they're well worth using. Typically when you're framing a shot on the LCD screen, you should keep the horizons straight but it's hard to do properly. With grid lines--typically a white tic-tac-toe pattern overlaying the screen—you can do it easily by lining up the horizons. Landscapes, group shots and vertical images will look much more professional.

Always Shoot Best Quality

You would think manufacturers set cameras at best quality as the default for stills and videos but unfortunately this is not always the case. Make sure image quality (resolution or pixels) is the highest available then check compression, if it's available. Here you might see a number of stars, or words like Good, Better, Best. Always choose the highest level since less compression means fewer digital artifacts--in other words a more accurate image. The same holds true for movies.

Remember it's always better to have a high-quality original and downsize it using your own software after the fact. Social media sites will automatically re-size your shots for quick uploads so quality isn't super critical here but if you want to make big prints for an album or scrapbook, it's important to have as many pixels as possible.

Don't Be So Sensitive

Manufacturers love to brag about the sensitivity of their cameras, claiming they can shoot in very low light. In some cases this is true but in most it's not. Sensitivity is measured by an ISO rating, ranging from 100 to 16,000 or more. When a camera is in Auto, it'll pick the ISO setting and in low light, it will use the highest number. For many models, particularly point-and-shoots, this is a recipe for disaster as digital noise—speckles—are introduced to the image and color shifts so it's barely recognizable.

If your camera has an ISO limit, set it to a maximum of 400 or 800 since your results will be much more pleasing. If you're feeling adventurous, I suggest you do some informal testing of the various ISO settings indoors without the flash. Review them on your monitor and see where the quality falls off. I've used cameras where 400 is the limit, others where 3200 or 6400 is solid.

Hollywood Tips

Hollywood DPs (Directors of Photography) work for years perfecting their craft but you can capture clips that are just fine for YouTube and the family HDTV. First, keep your camera horizontal at all times, set to best quality and with image stabilization engaged (if available). Resist the urge to quickly zoom in and out and do not abruptly move it from side to side. If you want to pan a nice landscape, always move the camera from left to right and do it slowly.

Play Is Good

The beauty of every digital camera is the simple fact you can take hundreds of shots almost instantly. You can press any combination of buttons you want and even if your photos are ready for the Delete pile, just erase them and start all over again. Cameras are very forgiving, even if you think they'll never work properly again.

Press Menu, go into Setup and hit Reset All if you're really lost in the digital woods. Your camera will now have the manufacturer's defaults and you can start all over again. And in the rare instance your camera freezes up, take out the battery, pop it back in again and hit the power button. Things should be as good as new.

Check out the latest tech news and tips at Digital Crave

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Women Are Boycotting Ivanka Trump’s Fashion Line — and the Stores That Sell It

      Despite her father’s uncanny ability to offend and alienate women more with each passing day, Ivanka Trump has managed to maintain a relatively high level of respect throughout Donald Trump’s turbulent presidential campaign. Some would say Ivanka has even been the one saving grace for a candidate who is increasingly being viewed as little more than a misogynistic narcissist by many Americans — particularly women.

      Yahoo Style
    • Eleanor Roosevelt’s ‘mistress’ died heartbroken and alone

      They called each other “darling,” “dear one” and “heart.” They told each other “je t’aime” and “j’adore,” and wrote more than 3,000 letters to one another. “All day I’ve thought of you . . . Oh! I want to put my arms around you, I ache to hold you close,” the normally reserved Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in March of 1933 to her beloved. No, not her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but a brilliant, bourbon-drinking, cigarette-smoking Associated Press reporter named Lorena Hickok, or Hick. Their romance is at the center of Susan Quinn’s engrossing double biography, “Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady.” While Quinn is not the first to tell the tale of Eleanor and

      New York Post q
    • Tiger Woods Doesn’t Regret Cheating on Ex-Wife Elin Nordegren

      The 40-year-old professional golfer opened up to Charlie Rose on Thursday.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Michigan lined up in a 10-man centipede formation again

      Jim Harbaugh is unique. Michigan’s coaches don’t call it that -- they call it “trains” — but we’re not Michigan’s coaches. Needing two yards, Michigan came out with five linemen, three tight ends, a fullback, and a running back.

      SB Nation q
    • Man 'fed up' with with children playing on drive jailed after running over and killing neighbour's son

      A man who ran over and killed his neighbour's five-year-old son after becoming "fed up" with children playing on his driveway has been jailed for two years. David Cowell, 42, killed neighbour Riley Ferguson, while he pulled his car onto the drive he shared with the boy's family in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Cowell had denied the charge of causing death by careless driving but was convicted by a majority verdict.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Ariel Winter finally explains why she wore that swimsuit on the red carpet

      Modern Family star Ariel Winter has a great track record as a body-positive role model. She is so outspoken about her journey to feeling happy in her own skin and knows how to handle bullies without dimming her shine. That’s why we love this explanation of why she wore a swimsuit, shorts, and heels on the red carpet over the summer. Ariel debuted this look at the Just Jared 4th Annual Summer Bash hosted by Uno in Los Angeles in July. Some fans loved the look and some people hated it, but it definitely got people talking. It’s true, this is a real outfit she rocked on the red carpet! In a recent interview with People about her most controversial outfits, Ariel talked about the look. She said:

      HelloGiggles q
    • Toddler dies in Spokane fire, his dog huddled at his side

      SEATTLE (AP) — A toddler who died in a house fire was found with his dog and teddy bear next to him and authorities believe the dog tried to protect the boy, a spokesman for Spokane's fire department said Saturday.

      Associated Press
    • Pictures of two Egyptian children engaged to be married trigger outrage — once again

      CAIRO – While celebrating his eldest son's lavish wedding, at which a number of famous singers and belly dancers performed, Nasser Hassan decided to "double the joy," he later recalled. He announced that his son Omar would marry his cousin Gharam. At the wedding, held in a province about 75 miles north of Cairo, the guests didn’t find it strange. Some would later tell Egypt’s Al Watan newspaper that there was “nothing inappropriate,” adding that it was only “an engagement, not a marriage". Omar is 12 years old. His fiancee, Gharam, is 11. Egyptian laws prohibit official registration for marriages for anyone under the age of 18. But the practice remains prevalent. According to UNICEF, 17 percent

      Washington Post q
    • Always Broke? 4 Things Debt-Free People Never Do

      Do you want financial freedom? Don't do these four things.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • Ivanka Trump backs her father but doesn't want to fall with him

      Ivanka, soon to turn 35, is still clearly her father's protegee. Having grown up in the spotlight from an early age, at a time when her father's extramarital affairs filled the tabloid press, Ivanka knows how to tend to her own image -- and that of the clothing line that bears her name.

    • Deer walks up to hunter and demands head scratches

      Hunter Jordan Maxon from New Richmond, Wisconsin, had a very odd encounter with a very friendly deer.  After setting up a deer stand in a clearing, Maxon looked around to see if any wildlife had wandered into the area before he started hunting. That's when he noticed a buck about 70 yards away.  "I figured I'd wait for him to leave the clearing, however, after five minutes of standing there, he wouldn't leave," Maxon explained on YouTube.  SEE ALSO: Deer fearlessly leaps through house window, becomes viable stuntman Instead of leaving, the buck approaches Maxon, who gently convinces the dear to come a bit closer with noises you'd use to coax a cat or dog.  The deer comes so close that Maxon is

      Mashable q
    • MarketWatch q
    • Anna Kendrick looked like a boho Disney Princess at the Euro premiere of “The Accountant”

      It’s no secret we’ve had a crush on Anna Kendrick for a long time now. We not only love her acting, but…

      Hello Giggles
    • Jim Harbaugh had Michigan run a fake punt with a 34-0 lead in the 4th quarter

      Michigan predictably dominated Illinois on Saturday. Two weeks after delivering a world-class beatdown to Rutgers, the Wolverines jumped all the way to a 34-0 lead in the fourth quarter against the Illini. Up by five touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the Michigan coach called for a fake punt, content to shovel as much dirt as possible on Illinois’ grave.

      SB Nation q
    • Two Children Shot and Killed in Georgia Home Invasion

      A 15-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl were shot to death in a suspected home invasion in Georgia

    • Scottie Pippen Divorce: Cops Called Twice This Month for Domestic Disturbances

      Scottie Pippen‘s marriage did not end well — cops were called to the NBA star’s home TWICE in the past 3 weeks for domestic disturbances … TMZ Sports has learned. Larsa told cops she was involved in a “heated verbal argument” with Scottie but insisted it NEVER GOT PHYSICAL. Scottie told police she could come back inside and there would be no issues and even offered to leave if it made Larsa feel more comfortable.

    • 11 Things You Probably Didnt Know About Airplanes (11 photos)

      Planes have changed a lot since the days of the Wright Brothers (or, perhaps more accurately, Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos ). Those first wood-and-cloth contraptionsarean entirely different species thanthesleek Boeing Dreamliners of today. With the continual advancements in aerospace technology, it's hard to keep up with all the amazing things planes today are capable of doing (and withstanding). Below,11 things you didnt know about airplanes and air travel.

    • Angelina Jolie 'having second thoughts' about leaving Brad Pitt? Find out the truth as the divorce unfolds

      Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's divorce might be a long-winding process as a recent report claims that the actress is having "second thoughts" about leaving her partner of twelve years. While the gossip report hasn't confirmed if the celebrity couple might actually call off their divorce, it stated that Jolie is no longer in a rush to finalise the legal proceedings. According to Hollywood Life, "[Pitt and Jolie's] kids can't stop talking about him and asking questions, which is bugging Angie but also making her miss Brad.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Donald Trump has a small lead in 3 national polls

      Donald Trump found himself ahead in three national polls Friday morning. The Republican...

      Business Insider
    • 'Star Wars: Episode VIII': 6 Spoilers Recently Revealed

      'Star Wars: Episode VIII' doesn't release until 2017, but we already have tons of new information on what to expect. Here's what we've heard so far.

      The Cheat Sheet q