Compact camera tutorial

Whether you’re visiting somewhere new or capturing the place you live, it’s always worth trying to find ways of shooting that will help you create more interesting, distinctive images.

Take control

PowerShot and IXUS cameras are full of technology to capture photos automatically, but the key to great photos lies in taking a little more control over the automatic systems so you can use them to compose exactly the shots you want.

Compact camera tutorial - Canon
Leo Hidalgo, Through the window
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Shift your focus

A good place to start is by moving your point of focus away from the centre of the frame. First, switch your camera to Manual mode. Then get your subject in the centre of your frame, and press the shutter halfway down. Keep the shutter half-depressed and you can recompose the frame, moving around until you get the best composition. Then just squeeze the shutter fully to take the picture.

Think big

Landscape mode, which will automatically be selected within Smart Auto, allows you to capture scenes in sharp detail from the front to the back – what’s known as extensive depth of field. This allows you to show more of your environment, whether you’re in the city or in the country.

Try this: when you take a landscape picture, try including something in the foreground to balance the scene. And don’t forget that landscape images can also be taken with the camera on its side, in the ‘portrait’ orientation.

Look for light and shadow

Light is at the very heart of all photography. Learning to look for the ways shadows and highlights create their own shapes and structures in the frame is a big step towards better photography.

Compact camera tutorial - Canon
Hiroyuki Takeda. Blue Shadow.
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When the sun is low in the sky, typically early in the morning or later in the evening, shadows are long and can add an extra dimension to your photos. An environment that is boring in the middle of the day is transformed with long shadows from low angle light. You can use the GPS via Mobile feature of many Wi-Fi enabled compact cameras to recall the location of great shadows, and revisit the spot later.

Boost colours

When you’re photographing a landscape, the vivid saturation of key colours can help make your image stand out. You can use the My Colors function to boost the saturation of colours. For example, in natural environments blue skies, water and greens are given a saturation boost to make them more vibrant and appealing.

Submit your shot to our You Connect Gallery

If you've felt inspired to capture an image from a different perspective, why not send your photos to our You Connect Gallery? It's where we showcase and share our favourite images sent in by the Canon community. Upload your photos.