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An older person's guide to digital photography

27th April 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Photography is a hobby that can be experienced by everyone, no matter whether you’re seeking the perfect landscape or portrait shot, or simply taking snaps of the family at home. Regardless of age, taking photographs is a fun activity that can even be enjoyed whatever your level of mobility, whether you use a rise and recline chair regularly or are much more mobile.

Having advanced to digital in recent years, cameras are now much smaller and, contrary to belief, can be much simpler to use. So, if you’re a novice who would like to learn more, our guide should be able to help you grasp the basics and have you taking quality images in no time.

Starting out

If you need to buy a camera, or are borrowing from a friend, then you will want to make sure that you do your research before you start using it. This is because if you’re a beginner, there are a number of cameras which will be more suited to you, and here ePHOTOzine gives a few tips on types and models which would be recommended for a learner.

Purchase a simple & easy-to-use camera

“When it comes to choosing a camera, we're now spoilt for choice. There's everything from professional DSLRs with interchangeable lenses to small compacts that fit in the pocket. Some are waterproof, while others offer durability thanks to their shockproof build, then you get the models which, well, just look impressive!

“DSLRs use interchangeable lenses and they can be a little on the heavy side, so if you don't want to be carrying heavy kit around with you, have a look at Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens cameras or why not opt for a compact which is much smaller in size? Many compacts now have a decent zoom range, giving you the opportunity to capture a variety of image types with just one camera/and lens combination.

“There's plenty of camera guides available, including ePHOTOzine's best camera of the year list, that'll give you a better understanding of what's available, too.” – ePHOTOzine

Although it may seem obvious, once you have your camera, there are a number of things that you will need to remember. Here, professional wedding and lifestyle photographer Kayleigh Pope reminds you of what you need to think about before heading out with your camera.

Charging the camera

“This might sound simple, but I have watched my Nan go to use her camera to find out she has forgotten to charge the battery. Most point and shoot cameras come with a specific battery as opposed to standard batteries. So you must make sure the battery is charged so you’re able to use it.” - Kayleigh Pope

Memory card

“Most ‘point and shoot’ cameras use an SD card, but can differ with each manufacturer, so check on your camera’s box/manual. A memory card holds all of your photographs, so that you can remove it and print from it.” - Kayleigh Pope

Getting to know your camera

It may be tempting to start taking photographs as soon as you can, but it’s advised that you take the time to get to grips with your camera. This will prevent you from learning any bad habits and will stop any frustrations when you are out and about. Consider doing the points below before you start taking photographs with your camera.

Read the manual

“Take the time to read your camera's manual or even purchase a guide written specifically for your camera type. By doing so, you'll understand how it works and what button does what before you leave your front door.” – ePHOTOzine

Settings

“I would say with a point a shoot, most people use the auto setting feature. This means that the camera decides your settings. You can also use auto flash, this means the camera decides if it needs to add light to the photograph.” - Kayleigh Pope

Take a tutorial

Lauren and Rob of Photography Concentrate understand the importance of knowing your camera, and learning the essential features that it possesses, which is why they’ve put together a downloadable guide. Their Camera Skills tutorial will help you learn even more in-depth settings for those of you that want to take a photography hobby even further.

Setting up the photo

Dependent on what you are trying to capture, there may be times when you need to set up the photo. When shooting in bright or low lighting, you may need to change the settings on your camera appropriately. Or, alternatively, it may be that you need to use extra equipment to get the shot you’re hoping for. To help clarify this further, you’ll find pointers for setting up a photo from our experts below.

Composition and lighting

Look around for a nice background to use. If you’re photographing people when it’s sunny, I suggest standing in the shade or with their backs facing the sun (so they don’t squint!). If you’re indoors, always look for a light source. A window is a great place to stand so that natural light falls on your subject. - Kayleigh Pope

Tripod or other support

“Cameras can start to feel heavy when working hand-held so why not invest in some sort of support, such as a tripod. Not only will a tripod take the weight off your arms and hands, it will also mean the chances of shake spoiling your shot are minimised. To prevent this further, especially if experimenting with close-up work where camera shake is more noticeable, use a remote release or, better still, use your camera's built-in self-timer to capture the image.” - ePHOTOzine

Stay close to home

“The beauty with photography is that you can find photographs to capture almost anywhere. A cup, an evening meal or friends popping by to say 'hello' are all scenarios which can be easily captured with your camera from the comfort of your own home. Of course, there are opportunities to capture images on day trips at the coast or in the countryside but don't think these are locations you must visit constantly to capture good photos.” – ePHOTOzine

This last piece of advice is especially good for all our stairlift users who may have limited mobility; there are plenty of places around the home to take wonderful photos, so get out your camera and see what can inspire you in your new surroundings.

Image Credit: Will Folsom (Flickr.com), ePHOTOzine, Kayleigh Pope

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.