Seven Reasons to Pick Up Your Point-and-Shoot Camera
I know what you’re thinking: “But I’ve got my pricey DSLR that I absolutely must use. We’re inseparable. Plus, I spent so much money on it I want every photo I take to scream, ‘This was taken with the Big Fancy Camera!’” Or maybe you didn’t spring for the Big Fancy Camera, but you’ve stopped taking pics with your point-and-shoot because you’re the last one on the block without a Canon. There is a certain amount of pressure we put on ourselves when we become serious amateur photographers or, slightly worse, professionals. We can’t possibly be seen to take a less-than-stellar photo, right? If we take a photo with our smartphone, well, who can help us? It’s fun and everyone else is doing it. Not to mention, Instagram. So, why pull out the point-and-shoot again? Didn’t we buy Big Fancy Camera to get away from the inferior point-and-shoot? Charge that tiny little battery and put in a fresh SD card.
7. This is not your mother’s camera or format
If you’ve purchased your point-and-shoot in the last five or so years it probably takes pretty good photos. I have no idea how old my Canon PowerShot is, but it’s a 14.1 megapixel camera. It’s not the old Kodak Instamatic with the adorable flash cubes on top. My mother took many a photo with that Kodak and I have fond memories of going to the tiny Fotomat kiosk (was there even a human in there?) to pick up the Christmas photos that we had taken not four months before. So exciting! The best part is, you’re shooting in JPEG. No Photoshop, no Lightroom. I uploaded my Disney pics and printed them locally so my kids could take them to school for Show and Tell as soon as we got back, which is more than I can say for the hundreds of digital photos languishing on my external hard drive right now. At least with the Fotomat you were forced to actually print your pictures.
6. Video, too!
Like your smartphone, it takes video as well. I keep it on my bedside table the night before major unveiling holidays (Christmas morning, Easter morning…). Then I stumble out into the living room, half asleep, press a single button and announce, “Ok, I’m ready!” This works out well for several reasons. Firstly, I never have any room left on my smartphone for videos. Secondly, the kids are raring to go and have little patience for me futzing about with my lenses, scoping out the perfect light and angle, etc.
5. Let someone else take some pictures for once
I’m rarely in family photos. I am forced to take selfies on vacation to prove that I was even there. People sometimes feel uncomfortable taking photos with your (let’s face it, filthy) phone but everyone knows how to operate a point-and-shoot. It’s why they named it that after all. And whomever you prevail upon to take your photo with your DSLR absolutely does not have the stamina to endure your detailed instructions. “Ok, so you’re going to frame your shot, press this button halfway down, reframe—make sure the strap is around your neck! Oh my, you almost gave me a heart attack! (Recovery pause) So where were we?”
4. Some vacations don’t require the high-priced, fragile DSLR
I took my point-and-shoot to Disney. It’s my favorite story to tell about how I didn’t bring my pricey DSLR on vacation. I knew I had done the right thing when I sat down on the Expedition Everest rollercoaster in the Animal Kingdom. It was quite a thrilling ride for my children and me, but would not have been for my treasured DSLR. We would have departed the ride breathless, except I’d be breathless in a not good way. I’d be seen cradling what remained of the source of my income as I struggled to get air into my lungs. I suppose I could have left my DSLR with the kind folks running the ride, but then we’d have to be separated. And I wouldn’t have enjoyed that. What lenses do you bring on a trip to Disney World anyway? I probably would have wanted to pack the portrait lens as well as the kit lens. Even the telephoto lens would have come in handy, right? Then there are the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom every night and you can’t really take firework photos without a tripod. Of course, if you’re taking all those lenses and the tripod, you have to bring your flash. So now we’re talking about 10 pounds of equipment, which would have gotten seriously heavy, fast. Carrying all of that would have been impossible since I had to carry my children on my back every night because we neglected to rent a stroller. Do yourself a favor and don’t take your Big Fancy Camera on a rollercoaster or the flume (the flume? Are you mad??). If you’re going on a safari or a mountain-climbing expedition of course bring it. Bring all the lenses and extra batteries and SD cards and borrow a card reader if you don’t own one. Another good way to mess up your camera is to bring it to the beach with you (especially if there are small children present). Niagara Falls is a tough one. It is quite spectacular. It’s also quite wet. If you’re spending the day shuffling your children on and off of water slides (or the Maid of the Mist) maybe just take the little camera. You can probably fit it into a Ziploc sandwich bag and keep it dry; I did.
3. Better selfies
Ok, so I’m not really “forced” to take selfies, but the selfies I take with my cell phone are not the greatest. I take them with the reverse camera, which is a poorer quality pic so I prefer point-and-shoot selfies. You can’t post them instantly, but you can feel good about using them as your profile pic because they’re a better quality.
2. For posterity
I had to look this word up to make sure I was using it properly. It literally means, “for future generations.” I want my children and my children’s children to have literally thousands of photos to pour over. Well, that’s how many they’re getting whether they want them or not. The majority of those photos will not have been taken with the DSLR.
The most beloved photos I have were grabbed with my cell phone or my point-and-shoot
because they were within arm’s reach.
1. Enjoy life a little bit
I’m constantly either taking photos or thinking about photos I’d like to take. On the very rare occasion that I’m completely without a camera, I’m left wishing I had one with me. I left the house once with only my old-school classic iPod. What was I thinking? The main reason I left my DSLR at home when we went to Disney was because I was paranoid about smashing it or losing it. The reason that was a close second was that I wanted to enjoy myself. I still managed to take 600 photos. Hey, I tried. When we love photography so much that it creeps in and starts to wrap itself around our DNA, stepping out of that mode is difficult to do. We focus too much on the perfect lens or the most flattering light. All of that focus is wonderful when you’re on a photo shoot with clients or if you’ve flown to Hawaii to get a breathtaking sunrise shot of Kilauea Volcano. For every day life, however, capturing the moment can sometimes take over actually being in that moment.
So maybe you’ll never get to the point where you can leave all of your camera-taking devices at home. Then grab your point-and-shoot, snap a few pics to say, “We were here.” *Click* “This happened.” *Click* Then slip the camera back into your pocket. Enjoy the rollercoasters; life is full of them.