As with most entry-level point-and-shoots, you'll want to give the L820 as much light as possible. Photos are best at and below ISO 200. As the sensitivities increase, so do the noise and smeary details from noise reduction. Also, colors appear slightly washed-out and muddy from noise from ISO 800 and above.
This, combined with the increased softness at higher sensitivities, means the indoor and low-light photo quality without a flash just isn't very good. So again, as long as you have plenty of light and don't do more than share photos online or make the occasional 4x6-inch print, the L820 takes good snapshots and, really, better ones than cameras with similar features at this price.
The camera's color performance is one of its best attributes, though again it's dependent on using ISO 400 or lower. At those sensitivities, colors appear bright and vibrant without looking unnatural. Exposure is good, but as usual with compact cameras, highlights will occasionally blow out.
With some assistance from the zoom lens, the L820 can shoot close-ups down to 0.4 inch from a subject. However, you'll probably want to use a tripod to get the sharpest shots. The optical image stabilization is good, but as soon as you extend the lens, your apertures shrink and the camera either goes with slower shutter speeds or a higher ISO to compensate (the L820 opted for the latter here, using ISO 360).
If you like to capture really wide shots, the L820's Easy Panorama, which is unfortunately buried in the scene modes, lets you do it quickly. Just press the shutter and pan the camera up, down, left, or right and it will shoot and stitch the photos together for you. You can choose from 180 or 360 degrees (pictured is a 180-degree shot). The results are OK as long as you don't look too closely.