It’s disappointing to come home after a day of shooting and realize your pictures aren’t as sharp as you would have hoped. It can be difficult to see on your small camera screen while you’re out shooting, and once uploaded into your computer and seen on a larger screen, it can prove that your images are a little ‘soft’. This unwanted ‘softness’ can usually be attributed to camera shake, motion blur from moving subjects, or imprecise camera settings. Today we’ve come up with 5 secrets to help you take sharp images and feel more confident behind the lens.
1. Minimize Camera Shake
A. Shutter Speed vs. focal length
It takes a lot of practice to shoot with a stable and steady hand. When hand-holding your camera, practice using the following: try to use a minimum shutter speed of 1/focal length of the lens to achieve your sharpest image. Camera shake is more noticeable with the longer the focal length, so a 50 mm lens would need a 1/50th of a second shutter speed, while a 200 mm lens would need a 1/200th of a second shutter speed to reduce camera shake. Consider this a starter place and experiment with shutter speeds.
B. Holding the Camera Properly & Using a Tripod
Objects that aren’t moving often appear out of focus due to camera shake from holding your camera. An obvious answer to minimizing this shake is using a tripod. For the sharpest results when using a tripod, remember to always turn off the stabilizer and use a remote. Need tripod options? We have many options here at Camera Land.
2. Reduce Motion Blur
When shooting a fast-moving subject, if your shutter speed is too slow, you’re going to see some motion blur. It is important to use the correct shutter speed to keep up with the movement of your subject. In order to freeze motion, try shooting at a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th of a second.
3. Adjust the Focus Point
If you’re not familiar with this feature, it can be a great discovery. Instead of focusing on your subject and recomposing your shot, first compose the shot, then move the focus point around until it hovers over your subject. This will ensure your focus point is exactly where it needs to be. This tip works best with stationary subjects. Need help with focus points? Check out our Camera Land Learning Center for available classes and workshops.
4. Select the Correct Focus Mode
Most cameras come with a few different types of focus modes. Choose the one that will best fit the type of subject you’re photographing. Single autofocus is when your camera will focus and lock on a single subject and will not deviate until you release your finger from the shutter. Continuous focus is used for continuously focusing on a moving subject. This mode allows you to push the shutter button half way, and the camera will focus on the subject as it moves around the frame.
5. Find the Aperture “Sweet Spot”
Most lenses are not consistently sharp at every aperture, and each one has an aperture “sweet spot” where it is the sharpest. Most likely, the “sweet spot” is two to three f-stops from the maximum aperture. The smallest aperture is also generally not the sharpest option either. Experiment with aperture to find what works best for the situation you’re shooting.
We hope some of these suggestions will help you take some sharp images. Check out our Camera Land Learning Center for more classes, workshops, and events at http://cameralandny.com/camera_land_educational_center.html.
Want to speak to a Camera Land expert? Call us today at 516-217-1000.