Just because you have a compact in your pocket instead of a DSLR doesn't mean you can't be creative. In fact, with the many creative features these small but mighty cameras have to offer, you really can shoot images that have an interesting twist.
A good place to start is the various art filters featured on many of Olympus' compacts. Some have more than others and they don't all feature the same effects but they do all allow you to add various styles to stills and even movies shot with your compact. Give portraits a softer feel with the Soft Focus mode or create a more vintage vibe with Pin Hole.
Some effects will work better with particular scenes but as you can view the effects instantly via your camera's LCD screen there's no reason why you can't experiment. To use a particular art filter all you have to do is select one from your camera's menu and take your shot.
Play With Tilt-Shift
Even though this is an Art Filter the effect is fun and produces really interesting results so that's why it gets its own mention.
This effect can be created with tilt-shift lenses but as they're rather expensive and not something all photographers will purchase, the model-like effect is a filter that's now found on most compact cameras, including the TG-630 and SZ-15 Olympus models.
By switching to this mode photographers can miniaturise the scene in front of them, making objects and people appear as if they're from a set of toy models. It works best when shooting from a higher vantage point - looking down on to roads, railways and valleys all work well. If there's lots of people in your shot try to frame your composition so they're further away from your lens as real models of people tend to not have too much detail on them.
The XZ-10 lets you combine different shots in one frame to create a collage-style image. Various themes are available that automatically apply Art Filter effects as well as combining your images.
If you don't own an XZ-10 you can take several shots with your compact and use Photoshop, or similar photo editing software, to combine your images. Try creating your own collage, a triptych or joiner.
A feature found on on many compacts, including the Olympus SZ-15, is a Beauty Mode. The Beauty Mode on the SZ-15 is actually called Beauty Make-Up Mode as it allows you to apply different facial effects to people's faces, before taking the photo. The 18 effects include adding make-up and brightening eyes.
If you're an Olympus compact user and haven't played around with some of the creative features your camera has to offer yet, why not have a go today and publish your images in the Olympus Image Space gallery?