It’s also worthwhile thinking about how you plan to use your photo.
Is it only ever going to be browsed online in a web gallery? If so, you probably don’t need to take the shot using higher resolution settings — even a 640x480 pixel image looks fine online. What’s more, you’ll be able to take a lot more photos, which is always handy.
Are you likely to want to print your photos, view them at high resolution or have them enlarged to poster size? If so, it’s usually best to take them at the highest quality using every megapixel your camera has, though you may find you run out of room unless you have a large media card.
It’s worth investing in extra storage so that if you fill up one memory card or similar device, you can easily plug in another. The last thing anyone wants is to run out of storage space on their camera halfway through their child’s big birthday party.
Having a lot of storage space also means you don’t have to sort through the photos you’ve taken immediately, deleting ‘bad ones’ to free up more space. Just because the photos don’t look great on the day doesn’t mean you can’t fix them up using a photo-editing program later.
Have you ever taken what you thought was a great shot, but which ended up looking like it was taken with a blue or orange coloured light shining onto the subject?
We think of light as generally being uniform in colour, but different light sources produce different kinds of ‘white’ light. It’s commonly measured in kelvin, a unit of temperature; candlelight, for instance, has a colour temperature of about 1900 kelvin and is more orange, while many flashes and fluorescent tubes have a colour temperature of 5500 kelvin and produce a more blue-ish tinge. It may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but it can ruin the mood of an otherwise great photo.
This is where the white balance settings on your camera come in. Many of the preset modes on your camera adjust the light intensity that's picked up by your camera’s sensor (known as the charged coupled device or CCD) so that it records a typical scene more accurately. Presets are good, but sometimes you’re better off adjusting the white balance manually, especially in circumstances where there may be multiple light sources of different colour temperatures such as a person standing in shade on a bright sunny day.