After reading this article, the photos you take from now on will become clear!

 

Reasons for Taking Blurred Photos

There are three main reasons for blurry photos. 

(1) Body Movement/Hand Movement/Camera Movement

Body Movement: If your posture when holding the camera is not straight and the center of gravity is not stable enough, your body will move easily, especially when squatting;

Hand Movement: No matter how stable your hand is, people will have a natural shake. Of course, the more noticeable your hand-shakes, the easier it will be to blur photos;

Camera Movement: Even if you mount the camera on a tripod, if the tripod is not stable enough, it will cause the camera to move, resulting in blurry photos.

Camera shake can cause blurry photos!

Camera shake can cause blurry photos!

(2) The Subject/Person Moving

Even if your camera is very stable the shutter might not be fast enough. The photos will lose their sharpness. For example, when photographing a moving car, taking a picture of a car directly will blur the picture.

I was in focus when I took this photo. The camera was on a tripod, but the boat was still blurred because the waves were big and the boat would move under slow shutter speeds.

The camera was on a tripod, but the boat was still blurred. Because the waves are strong, the ship will also move at slow shutter speeds.

(3) Focus Failure

Especially at large apertures or shallow depth of field, if the focus point is not on the subject, the subject will become blurred!

If you don't focus well, chances are high that you will get blurred photos!

If you don’t focus well, you will get blurred photos!

Ways to Keep Your Photos Sharp

(1) Remember the Secret of “Security Shutter”

To solve the problem of “hand-shake”, we must remember the “safe shutter” formula:

Safety shutter=1/focus

This means that when shooting with an 80mm (focal length) lens, the shutter must be at least 1/80 seconds when held in hand. These photos will not be affected by hand-shake. A point to note: in most cases, the shutter can not be slower than 1/50 second, you are in real-time with an 18mm, 35mm lens.

Example:
[table class=”table-striped table-bordered”]
“Focal length”, “Security shutter”
200mm, 1/200s
100mm, 1/100s
50mm, 1/50s
35mm, 1/50s (because it cannot be less than 1/50s)
18mm, 1/50s (because it cannot be less than 1/50s)
[/table]

(2) Adjusting the Combination of Aperture and ISO

How can you ensure that the shutter speed is correct? These steps explain the combination of aperture and ISO:

(Step 1) Decide aperture- the larger the aperture, the shallower the depth of field (background is blurred)

(Step 2) Determine the ISO- According to the size of the aperture and the camera’s built-in light meter, determine whether the ISO value should be increased. If you find that the aperture value is underexposed, increase the ISO to ensure that the shutter is in the range of the safe shutter.

Tip: You can also make good use of the automatic ISO function. Please refer to this article: Expose “Fast, Cruel, and Accurate”- The Magical Use of Auto ISO

Even with handheld shooting, as long as you use the appropriate aperture and ISO value, you can take clear photos!

Even with handheld shooting, as long as you use the appropriate aperture and ISO value, you can take clear photos!

(3) Using a Tripod

If you are in a low-light environment and the subject is not moving quickly, use a tripod to shoot. Not only can a tripod keep your photos sharp, but you can also increase the ISO  by not having to adjust to the shutter speed, to maintain the best quality of your photos!

Using a tripod not only keeps your photos sharp, but also lets you shoot dynamic water with a slow shutter!

Using a tripod not only keeps your photos sharp but also lets you shoot dynamic water with a slow shutter!

(4) A Good Handheld Camera

Be sure to hold the camera in a good, stable position. It is best to keep the center of gravity in line with your feet and hold your breath when you press the shutter. This will make the camera more stable.

(The following picture is reproduced from the blog of photographer master Joe McNally )

Wrong posture, do not hold the camera like this!

Wrong posture, do not hold the camera like this!

The correct way to hold the camera.

The correct way to hold the camera.

Joe McNally, the master of photography, demonstrates the ultimate way to keep the camera steady!

Joe McNally, the master of photography, demonstrates the ultimate way to keep the camera steady!

(5) Focus First, Then Frame

To prevent the focus point from falling on a non-subject and blurring the subject, we can set the camera to “single-point focus” and then press the shutter button halfway to focus before moving the camera to compose the picture. This allows the camera to lock focus until the shutter button is fully pressed.

Focusing accurately on the subject ensures that the subject is within the depth of field.

Focusing accurately on the subject ensures that the subject is within the depth of field.

Postscript

To take sharp photos, the lens has a great impact. Sharpness, color, and saturation of high-quality lens are better, so if the budget allows, upgrading to a high-quality lens is a must-do!

Extended reading: novice must learn! 5 tips for taking sharp photos

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Author: Alex Tam