8 Hints for the Non-Photographer | npENGAGE

8 Hints for the Non-Photographer

By on Feb 16, 2012


Have you ever found yourself at your organization’s <insert big event> where you 1) find yourself with a camera in hand and 2) hoping that you didn’t miss that perfect photo opp of your mission in action? For the large majority of non-photographers that work or volunteer for a nonprofit – me included – I’m guessing it happens quite often.

Walt Disney said it best “Of all of our inventions for mass
communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood
language.” This is especially true for your organizations where pictures of your mission are an incredibly valuable asset. There’s no better way to show your organization’s impact than through a compelling photograph. But, the best part is you don’t have to be an expert or have professional-grade equipment to capture a special moment with a camera.

Let the non-photographers unite and pledge to make out-of-focus, chopped-off heads and poorly lit photo faux pas come to an end! Here’s some simple tips on to get nice shots with a digital point and shoot camera

  1. Read the manual. You saw it here first, folks. Yes, reading the manual even with your point and shoot camera is a good idea. It may look compact and simple, but looks can be deceiving!
  2. Unsteady hands? Consider a tripod, but if that’s not an option try steadying your camera on a stair rail or back of a chair to capture the shot.
  3. Take lots of pictures. It takes 10 shots to get at least one good picture. So, if you have a group photo try different angles, flash on, flash off, etc. There’s bound to be a good one in there.
  4. Move around. Try getting up high and shooting down. Don’t be afraid to climb, kneel, lean, and move close or farther away. Changing your distance from your subject can create interesting shots. 
  5. Flash on, flash off, that is the question. Will you be outside or in a dimly lit ballroom? Make sure you understand your environment and flash settings on your camera ahead of time. 
  6. The rule of thirds. Imagine that every scene you look at through your viewfinder is overlaid with a tic-tac-toe board. You want to capture interesting things in the intersection points of this 9-square grid and avoid putting things into the center square.
  7. Optical zoom vs. digital zoom. Avoid using your digital zoom if possible to preserve your images maximum quality. You can always crop and get closer to your subjects afterwards using a simple photo editing tool.
  8. Practice and play around! The more you take pictures, the better you’ll be and who knows maybe you’ll graduate from your non-photographer status.

I’d love to hear more tips from pros and beginners alike, so please leave me comments!


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