P&S Tip #2

P&S Tip #2. How to Force a Fast Shutter Speed on a Point & Shoot Camera (in low-light conditions):

As a general rule, at concerts, you don’t ever want to use the flash.  You are never anywhere near enough to the stage to make any decent photos and all you will get are brightly lit backs of heads surrounded by mysterious darkness. Interesting, perhaps; capturing the band, unlikely.

But if you have a P&S and you turn the flash off, it will most likely slow the shutter speed down and increase the ISO, and you will end up with poorly lit, noisy and blurry pictures. Artistic, perhaps; capturing the band, unlikely.

So, you can trick the camera. Trick it into thinking that you need a fast shutter speed. How? Turn the flash ON but then, cover it with your fingers or a piece of paper or the stub of your concert ticket receipt.

At the same festival, I was standing beside a man who kept trying to take photos of the band with the flash on, and then off, and then on, and then off. He kept tsking every time he looked at the picture on his LCD screen and would try again. I was most impressed by his perseverance. In a break between songs, I leant over and suggested that he try the above trick. He did not understand, initially, so I demonstrated on my camera. He still did not seem to understand me, so I demonstrated on his camera (with his consent, of course, I did not just snatch the thing out of his hands). Then he took a few photos with his camera, with his middle & ring finger blocking the flash. “Like that?” he mouthed and I nodded. Then he took a few more and finally, put his camera away and danced.

When the band finished, he turned to me and said, “Thanks! That’s a great tip!” and I replied, “Yeah, I reckon you took some great photos too.”
“Are you a photographer?”
“Lord, no. Just nosy,” and I winked and we went our separate ways.

I think I used the technique described in this post to take this photograph of Herman Dune, but I'm not certain. It is highly possible this photograph was taken by my Partner with his own nefarious methods and I can take no credit whatsoever. Still, I like illustrating posts.

This is my favourite Herman Dune song (and it’s a pretty cool video clip, too).

Check in again for my third (and last) point & shoot tip:

All About Macro…



  1. EXCELLENT tip! And I’m glad you took the time to share it with your fellow concert goer. I read an article not all that long ago about a professional photographer who was smirking at another point-and-shooter as she tried again and again to capture something on a stage far far away. But soon, he realized that she was making progress and was learning something new in the thirty minutes she’d been tinkering. And wondered about himself: when was the last time he learned something new, tinkering with his camera?


  2. nikkipolani
    Thanks! I think I stumbled across it accidentally when I was taking a photograph and had my finger over the flash!
    I do have a disconcerting tendency to talk to strangers!
    I am always impressed by other people’s persistence – I give up too easily if the pictures are not working, and then don’t pull the camera out again in that kind of environment.


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