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by Phil Ball

Q. I have a new all-automatic digital camera and I am confused by all the choices and options available. Do I need to use these options? Can’t I just point and shoot?

A. All you must do to get nice photos is to simply turn the camera on, hold it steady, and point and shoot. But you can take better photos if you avail yourself of some of those options. First of all, try zooming the lens to get closer to your subject. Also, your camera will do a better job of taking good photos if you tell it what kind of picture you are taking. When the camera knows what it is looking at, it can adjust to give you better photos.

To do this, choose a Scene mode to match your subject. It really helps you to get good photos if you are familiar with other special scene modes for specific conditions. Digital cameras show you your picture right after you take it. If it is too light or too dark, then adjust the Exposure Compensation to correct the next photo. If it doesn’t come out right the first time, keep trying. The pictures cost nothing until you print them.

So I definitely recommend using the zoom lens, Exposure Compensation, and the Scene modes to get better photos. Most of the rest of the various setting and options that your camera makes available to you are for less usual situations and can be ignored until you find a need for them.

Published: Courier 11/6/11 - Page 5C