Point and Shoot!

At the end of summer last few years, my partner and I attended a fantastic music festival. We do take our camera to these things, but invariably fail to take decent photographs. We tend to not take many photographs and instead enjoy the music. Go figure. Also, there is too much movement or too little light, or, indeed, both.

But there are mods or hacks or fix-its:

NB – I am a point & shoot photographer and these apply to P&S cameras only (well my first tip also applies to d-SLR shooters but I doubt many d-SLR shooters would participate in such shenanigans…).

A lot of photography sites give you tips and assume you have a d-SLR or that you have a d-SLR-like compact (i.e. a camera where you have some control over the aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc; which I do have, but I also used to have a proper P&S which let me change ISO but not aperture or shutter speed).

There are some simple things a true P&S photographer – one who is using a completely compact camera with not very much control over changing the camera settings – can do to “trick” the camera into doing what they want it to do.

Tip # 1. How to be a Tripod:

We were waiting for the band to start while a glorious sun set behind us, casting every self-respecting photographer’s favourite magical golden light onto the stage. As the sun sunk lower, the sky became lovely and moody. My partner loves taking photos of sunsets but this sky was more like early moonrise. As he needed to seriously reduce camera-shake, he used my head as a tripod.

How can a person be a tripod I hear you ask? Read on my friends and you will learn.

Position your feet shoulder-width apart, one foot in front of the other, bend your knees slightly and hold your breath. You might want to tell the photographer that you are holding your breath so that he does not take an eon to compose his picture and you finally give in to your body’s need for oxygen at just the moment he depresses the shutter button.

I like to dramatically hold my breath by taking in a big lungful of air and saying, “Hhumpf” to get the message across.

He took a pretty decent photo, I thought, with the Ricoh which has (had) appalling low-light capabilities or its users had appalling usage in low-light situations, or both.

Ta Da! Taken with a Human Tripod and the Ricoh Caplio R5.

In the foreground of the photograph are some amused punters. After the photo was done, my partner explained, “Just using her as tripod” and I confirmed, “I am a tripod!” and we all fell about laughing.

Some things are more hilarious when they actually happen, rather than in the retelling. Probably many things are.

And don’t worry, although my partner does, as indicated above, objectify me; I have agency and allow him to do so.

Hang onto your hats for the next post: How to Force a Fast Shutter Speed!

I know you’re excited.


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