How to Get Tack-Sharp Images

sharp imagesSharp images can make the difference between first-rate, professional-looking photos and the ones that just don’t measure up. The good news is there will be no fuzzy photos for you if understand how to prevent them.

The 3 Top Ways to Get Sharp Images

1. Assure Correct Focus

This one is very simple – if the subject is not in sharp focus you will not get a sharp image of it. Nothing else you do will fix this, so be absolutely sure that your camera is focusing on the subject. A camera with multiple focus regions usually shows the area of focus in the viewfinder when you press the shutter release part way down. If you can’t be sure that the subject is in focus, use depth of field preview if your camera has it.

2. Stop Camera Movement Mecanically

Camera motion might be the most frequent cause of un-sharp images.  It is almost impossible to eliminate it completely but a tripod will usually keep camera movement so slight that you won’t notice any loss of sharpness.  You can also put the camera on a stable surface such as a table top, a rock, or a bean bag.  A bean bag lets you squish the contents to cradle the camera in a way that lets you point it in some direction other than straight ahead.  Using the camera’s timer will keep your shutter finger from causing unwanted camera motion whenever you’re shooting with a support.

Hand-held shooting ensures camera movement, yet most amateur and many professional photographers shoot hand-held and still get acceptably sharp images when their shutter speed is fast enough to prevent significant camera movement during the short time that the shutter is open. Program shooters should use the sports mode to get a faster shutter than other program modes are likely to provide. Click this link: speed-aperture-iso-simplified to learn how to increase shutter speed while keeping exposure correct.

Brace Yourself for Sharp Images

If there simply isn’t enough light to overcome the effects of camera movement then make yourself into a human tripod. Hold the camera under the lens or body with your left hand, bring both arms in tight to your sides, inhale (or exhale if you prefer), and slowly press the shutter release. If a tree, building, or vehicle are close by you might lean on it for added stability.

Image stabilized lenses and bodies are a big help in reducing movement, but you’ll still get a blurry subject if the exposure is long enough, and the problem is more severe with telephoto lenses. To see how this works, point your finger at a distant object and move your finger a little bit. You can see how a small amount of camera movement could keep you from getting a sharp image of a distant object. A good rule of thumb to get sharp images is to use a shutter speed about equal to the reciprocal of the focal length of your lens. This means that a 100mm lens requires a shutter speed of 1/125th second, a 300 mm lens needs about 1/320th, and a speed of 1/500th second is right for a 500mm lens. Image stabilized equipment can usually operate successfully at around 2/3 stop faster than the reciprocal guideline states.

Using flash is a variant of the fast shutter speed approach. Flashes usually fire for a few thousands of a second at most. If the flash is providing most of the light for the exposure it will effectively freeze movement due to movement of the camera or the subject.

3. Keep the Subject Still

Yuo can’t get a sharp image of a moving subject unless the shutter speed is fast enough to freeze the motion. This can be a problem when shooting nature subjects outdoors in dim light because a little bit of wind can cause big problems. Waves smooth out and blur reflections, leaves move in a breeze, and small plants might even quake. As wind speed increases small things move more and big things begin to move too. Using a windbreak can protect small flowers, etc. from breezes. If the winds are strong you might do better by trying to capture movement in your photos rather than trying to eliminate it. This article tells you how to purposely use motion blur in your pictures.

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