Posts in Tips
3 Tips for Getting Sharper Photos | G. Lin Photography Education

Hey friends! Are you struggling to get clear, sharp photos with your DLSR? This is probably one of the top questions I get from clients or friends, and I TOTALLY remember wondering the same thing when I started out. I was frustrated that I was getting "soft" or blurry photos, and was on a mission to learn how to get crisp images. I've learned it's all about controlling your body and your camera. Here are 3 easy tips that you can use today to start getting sharper photos!

1. Stabilize Your Body and Hand.

Seems like a no-brainer, but this is one of the most common reasons photos turn out blurry! If your hand isn't steady, you're basically adding motion to the camera, which will cause blur. Since most of us take photos hand-held and with no tripod, your camera will be more prone to camera shake. To reduce any camera movement, make sure you are holding your camera properly. Place your left hand underneath your camera body, around the base of your lens barrel, and keep your arms as close to your body as possible.

Here's another bonus tip: lean on something stable. This can be as simple as a wall, couch, fence, or tree! Leaning on something that's already stable will help support you and minimize any swaying. As you can see in the photo below, I chose to lean against the couch during a lifestyle family shoot.

Just remember, you are a human tripod. Get creative and constantly look for ways where you can minimize any body or hand movement.

Photo of me using the camera | Family Photographer in Raleigh NC | By G. Lin Photography

2. Switch to AF Single Point Focus.

Most DSLR cameras have 9, 11 or more autofocus points, and the AF Point Selection is normally defaulted to "Automatic Selection." That means the camera will use all of the AF points and decide which of the autofocus points to use, and you do NOT want this! Your camera can't choose the correct area to focus unless you tell it where you want to focus. The only way to guarantee accuracy, is to switch the AF Point Selection to "Manual Selection" (as seen in the photo below using a Canon 6D). You can then select the single AF point you want and tell the camera where to focus. This will ensure your camera will accurately focus where YOU want it to focus!

Close up shot of camera settings | Durham Family Photography | By G. Lin Photography

3. Use a Higher Shutter Speed.

I recommend using a minimum shutter speed of 1/125 for most situations. A higher shutter speed allows me to capture playful moments or quick action shots when I need it most (like the photo below!). I also recommend to really understand the "exposure triangle," which is the relationship between the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. To learn more, check out my Pinterest board here for beginners and get a free cheat-sheet!

Durham Family Photographer | Mom playing with baby boy outside | By G. Lin Photography

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There you have it! These are three easy tips you can incorporate today, but remember, it takes time and practice to develop good technique. There are other advanced techniques I use, but I don't want to overwhelm you ;)

If you've found this helpful or have any questions, I'd love to hear from you! At the core of my being, I truly LOVE helping people (especially for those who want to become a better photographer!). Feel free to shoot me an email at or join my FREE Facebook group! This is a private group for anyone who wants to learn and chat photography. Whether you’re a hobbyist, photo enthusiast, or a newbie, this is safe place where you can ask questions and get feedback.

Have a great weekend and happy shooting!


What to Wear for Family Photos: 5 Tips to Coordinating Outfits

As a family photographer in Durham, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is, "what should we wear for our family photo shoot?" Deciding what to wear for a family portrait can be daunting and stressful especially if you don't know where to start! I thought I'd write a quick blog post on on how you can plan your outfit as a family, and you can use this as a reference guide for your upcoming sessions. Scroll down to learn about my 5 tips to coordinating the perfect family outfit for your photo shoot!

1. Know your style!

Consider what you normally wear and what style best represents YOU! Do you like a clean and classic look, or are you more preppy and edgy? Or perhaps you like more of a vintage and bohemian look? Also, keep in mind when it comes to lifestyle photography, the idea is to be genuine and authentic. If your family is athletic and loves the outdoors (like this family one below!) then by all means, go for a more sporty and casual look! In a nutshell, dress in a style that BEST showcases who you are as a family. You'll look and feel more confident during your shoot!

Outdoor family photo at Umstead Park in Raleigh, NC | By G. Lin Photography | Raleigh Family Photographer

2. Choose a color scheme.

What colors do you normally wear? Do you find yourself wearing a lot of neutrals? Or maybe pastels? Or maybe you like rich, jewel tones (like blues and purples). Whatever colors you tend to gravitate towards, I recommend choosing no more than 2-3 colors and dressing within that color palette. For example, this family is dressed in a gorgeous cream and orange color scheme, which looks great for an in-home lifestyle session! It's soft and pretty, yet fun and fresh at the same time!

Indoor Lifestyle Session in Durham | Raleigh Family Photographer | By G. Lin Photography

3. Wear solids and limit patterns.

Solid clothing usually looks the cleanest on camera. Patterns can look good too, just make sure it's subtle and complements the overall look. Go for a balanced look when it comes to wearing patterns or prints; otherwise things can get too "busy" or distracting. For example, this family dressed their baby in a patterned shirt for his six month photo shoot since he was the main attraction! The parents balanced their overall look by dressing in solids and coordinating colors.

Also, I suggest avoiding logos or graphics because that tends to be distracting in photos. We want to capture your love and connection first and foremost!

Modern Family Lifestyle Session at Home | Durham Family Photographer | By G. Lin Photography

4. Layer your outfit.

Layering is a practical and easy way to build texture and interest in your photos. For example, adding a scarf, vest, cardigan, or jacket can help pull your overall outfit together! Layering is also great for the colder months in Raleigh-Durham. It helps you stay warm during the shoot, but also makes it easy to remove clothing if you start to get too warm.

Fall Family Photo at Umstead Park in Raleigh | By G. Lin Photography

5. Wear accessories.

Wearing accessories is like putting the cherry on top! It adds the finishing touch to your outfits. Whether you wear a fun necklace, sparkly earrings, or a pretty bracelet or watch, these are the details that help add personality to your photos. I love how the mom in the photo below is wearing an orange necklace because it adds a nice pop of color!

Indoor Lifestyle Newborn Session | Raleigh Newborn Photographer | By G. Lin Photography

Still stuck? Checkout my Pinterest board!

I recommend going to Pinterest for some inspiration and ideas! For some more helpful tips, you can checkout my Spring and Summer Wardrobe Guide and my Fall and Winter Wardrobe Guide. Pinterest is a great place to help you get a feel for colors and patterns you love as well as trends you like!

Lastly, please don't be shy to ask me for help! As your family photographer, you are always welcome to bounce ideas with me :) Have fun, and I hope this helps you feel prepared, confident, and excited for your session!