Understanding how to adjust the light settings on your camera is one of the most important things to know when it comes to taking good photos. Of course, if your camera is a fully automatic point-and-shoot, your ability to adjust your camera’s light settings is limited, but with a few simple tips, you can take better photos than ever before.
To get started, look in your menu options to see if your camera will allow you to adjust the white balance settings. (Check out this article for links to the manuals for many popular cameras.) If so, you will see icons for several different options, such as automatic, daylight, cloudy or shade, florescent, and tungsten. Each option indicates a lighting condition you may encounter when taking outdoor or indoor photos. For best photo results, select the setting that best describes your lighting conditions. Using the tungsten or florescent settings indoors will especially help reduce the red cast (tungsten) or grayish cast (florescent) you often get when you shoot indoors.
Photo without a white balance adjustment
Photo with a white balance adjustment
Another quick tip is to use your flash whenever the subject you want to shoot is in front of or facing away from the light of a window or the sun—even if you’re taking pictures in the middle of the day! Because your camera takes in only enough light to expose the brightest part of your surroundings, your subject is often draped in shadows. By using your camera’s flash on subjects less than 15 feet away, the flash will add light to your subject and eliminate any dark shadows. Give it a try and see what you think!
–Kris Brunson, senior editor