Not every photograph is meant to be sharp. There are times you’ll intentionally blur an image, such as in sports photography when you’re capturing a racecar zooming around the track and want to show speed. Then again, there are times you want to stop the action and have a sharp image, like this pooch running on the beach! The majority of the time, you are going to want your pictures to be crystal clear and sharp and in some cases, it’s the camera that makes the difference while in others it’s the photographer and post-processing software. Let’s break this down into 7 helpful tips.
1. Hand Holding
99% of the time when an image is not sharp it’s because of your hand and camera movement when taking the shot. Any amount of shaking can have the potential of blurring an image. So, how can a you best defend yourself?
Image Stabilization (IS) Lenses: If your have a DSLR camera, it’s worth investing in a good IS lens. This is especially true if you use a heavy telephoto lens because the weight alone can make enough of a difference, even more noticeably so if you’re on a long photo shoot and your arm starts to tire out. If it’s affordable to you, the extra outlay of cash for an IS lens is worth having sharper images.
Tripod: Naturally, there’s no doubt that a good tripod is worth using, especially with landscape photography or any other subject that’s not in lateral motion. The key to successful tripod use is being sure it’s set up in a sturdy spot. If one of its legs is balancing on something unstable, like a small rock, it can cause movement, and hence blurring, when the shutter is pressed. Double check it’s stability before you start taking photos.
Timer or Remote Shutter Release: With your camera set either on a tripod or a stable object like a table or wall, setting the self-timer to 2 seconds means not having to put pressure on the camera. This will increase stability. Remote shutter releases are also a good idea, rather than setting the self-timer. They’re inexpensive, but can be invaluable to creating a sharp image. In both situations, be sure to set the focus on your subject before actually shooting via the timer or release.
These above solutions are for you as the photographer. But, how can your camera play a role in sharper photos? In most cases, the tricks above are only as good as your camera’s settings. The next series of tips are suggested camera settings.