Small and lightweight compact cameras are ideal for candid images like portrait shots or where a large DSLR may be too obtrusive. IXUS and PowerShot models also mean you can put them in your bag or pocket and take with you almost anywhere. After all, you never know when a newsworthy event might happen and when you could be the only photographer on the scene.
© Gerry Lauzon who took this photo on a Canon PowerShot G12
Stay zoomed out and move around
If you're aiming to shoot an event like a community music festival or a strike at a local business, using the widest setting of the zoom will allow you to get more of the subject and their environment in the picture. A good tip is to use your feet to move you and the camera rather than relying on the zoom. This will ensure that you capture your main subject and still show the environment around them - useful for capturing the emotion on a face in a crowd while showing its context.
Use face detection
Portraits can be a powerful way of telling a story. On most compact Canon cameras, the face detection AF system will keep the focus on people's faces even when they are not in the centre of your picture. It means you can compose pictures with your main subject larger in the frame and off to the left of right side instead of centrally in the picture. This can create a sense of action or drama.
Black & white pictures
Some of the most iconic news photos from the last century were shot in black and white. Monochrome can add a depth and serious tone to some images, or focus the viewer's eye on facial expressions or details. Many compact Canon cameras include a My Colours function that can be set to create black and white pictures from images already captured. Some also have a black and white shooting mode. Try experimenting with these and see which you feel happiest with.
© See-ming Lee who took this photo on a Canon EOS M with an EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens
Making the most of low light
Shooting in low light can be challenging - especially if the story you're trying to capture is happening at dusk and a flash would be obtrusive. Thankfully, many Canon compact cameras feature the HS system which combines a high sensitivity image sensor and DIGIC processor to create great images even in low-light conditions.
Try taking pictures without the flash. Pressing the flash button on the camera can set the flash to not fire even in low light - this then preserves the balance of light on the main subject and the background. Alternatively, see if your camera has a slow synchro flash mode - you'll find it on many IXUS and PowerShot models. This will light the main subject close to the camera and also use a long exposure to ensure the background is captured with the ambient lighting.
For more tips on shooting in low light, check out our video tutorials featuring wildlife photographer Jamie Hall.