First Things First
It may sound like a no-brainer, but the very first thing you should do before you start playing with your new camera is charge the batteries. Nothing is more frustrating than having your camera die while you’re experimenting with a new technique or photographing friends and family during holiday get-togethers.
While your camera is charging, take the time to read the manual; you may be surprised what you learn! A camera’s manual, or user guide, often includes helpful shooting tips and will educate you on features you may not have even realized your camera had.
Now, Time For The Fun
Okay, so your camera’s batteries are fully charged and you’ve read – or at least skimmed – the manual. Let the fun begin! Here are a few ways you can test out your new camera, be it a basic point-and-shoot or a DSLR.
That Was a Close One!
Set your camera to its macro mode (the setting that’s typically indicated by a flower icon). Macro mode will enable you to take some great close-up shots, and not just of flowers. Fill your camera’s frame by physically moving closer to your subject, and capture the finer details of Christmas day, like the beautifully prepared food, colourful ornaments on the tree, the crumpled wrapping paper of opened gifts, or the frost on the window.
Everyone Say Cheese ...
Group shots are inevitable during the holidays, but they often don’t turn out well: Grandpa’s got his eyes closed; little Johnny is picking his nose; your brother looks like the devil with his glowing red eyes. Here are a couple tips for capturing decent group shots with your new camera:
- Say “on three” but press the shutter on “two.” People will be less likely to blink and will probably have more natural smiles on their face.
- Raise your hand and ask the group to look at it rather than the camera to help avoid red-eye. Turning off the flash and using natural light will also help eliminate the red-eye effect.
- Use your camera’s continuous burst mode to increase your chances of getting that perfect group shot. Shooting several photos in quick succession also provides you with the opportunity to edit them later – crop the head from nose-picking Johnny in an otherwise great shot and replace with the image of Johnny moments before he started digging, for example.
… Or Not
Photographing people when they least expect it can be a lot of fun. Candid shots make for some of the best photos as they show people with natural true-to-life expressions. Before you start shooting, go into your camera’s settings and turn off its shutter sound and other beeps and tones that will give you away. Don’t reserve your candid photography to just laughing faces – capture other moments too, like the serious conversation Uncle Bob seems to be having with the dog after drinking a few eggnogs, or the grumpy toddler who doesn’t appreciate having to share his new toy with his cousin.
If you’re looking to have some real fun with your new camera, you have got to try your hand at forced perspective photography. By strategically positioning your subject and camera, this trick photography technique will create an optical illusion where your subject appears to be larger or smaller than it really is. If done correctly, you shouldn’t need to use photo editing software with forced perspective photography.
Show It Off!
Once you’ve captured some amazing photos with your new camera, it’s time to show them off. Yes, you can post them to Facebook for all to see, but shouldn’t those photos you’re so proud of also be on display in your home? Check out this overview of Posterjack’s photo art products to see all of the awesome ways you can print your photos.
And go on, leave a comment below to brag about the sweet camera you got for Christmas!