Photography-satisficing-filter: I would like to take family snapshots approximately as nice as
. Can it be done with my
)? And if not, what's the minimum I'd need to spend on equipment to get there?
For all my other very modest photography needs (sunsets, flowers, vacations, the usual), my two-year-old Olympus SP-550 UZ does me just fine. But I would really like to be able to take slightly better medium-to-close-range shots of people. What I especially like about her shot
No matter what the lighting's like, I feel as though my Olympus consistently produces pictures that are slightly "soft" or foggy. My messing around with the shutter priority mode has succeeded only in replacing blurriness with graininess.
2. Lack of distortion.
Somehow, anyone I've photographed close up with my current camera ends up looking vaguely fishbowly and unlike themselves-- what's up with that?
3. Shallow depth of field.
This is less critical, since I know it's hard to get in a point-and-click. Still, it'd be nice.
I know there's a school of thought that says you should just learn to work the camera you have-- and my Olympus has tons of complicated modes, including aperture priority, shutter priority, full-manual, and Scene, so it's entirely possible that I'm just not using it to best effect. (I also have Photoshop, so I'm fine with learning to fake stuff in post-production). On the other hand, I don't want to spend a ton of time trying to optimize my technique with this camera if in the end it's simply incapable of producing the shots I'd like.
So... do I need to buy a DSLR? If not, what should I work on, technique-wise? And if so, what's the (approximate) minimum I'd need to spend for something that would suit this particular, very specific purpose?