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.
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!
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!
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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 email@example.com 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!