Reducing camera shake

Blurry photos due to camera shake is something we’ve all encountered before and it’s especially common for those of us with unsteady hands. To lend a steady hand, we’re giving you a few techniques to reduce camera shake and ensure that your photos are always crisp and clear.

Camera shake is one of the biggest bugbears for photographers and occurs when the camera moves during the exposure.

When pressing your camera’s shutter release button, while mostly imperceptible, you will move the camera. That seemingly insignificant movement is referred to as camera shake and can result in a blurred photograph.

Camera shake can also happen when using the slow shutter speeds required when taking photos in low light conditions – the slower the shutter speed, the greater the danger of shake.

While the results are similar, do not mistake blurriness of camera shake for the term ‘out of focus’, as the focus of the camera is related to this common error.

There are three main things to look for regarding camera shake:

FULL IMAGE BLUR

If you are suffering from camera shake you will find that all your images are blurred, whether it is the main subject, your background or your foreground. Look closely and you’ll see that there are no sharp points in the image at all.

DOUBLE IMAGE

Another indication that you probably have camera shake is when you see two exposures of the same image. Particularly pay close attention to the edges of objects where you might see them twice.

MOTION BLUR

Camera shake happens when your camera is moving during the time of exposure. As a result, you’ll often see a blur that looks like your subject is moving – even when it might be a still life subject. Look for light streaks or lines when examining your image closely.

In contrast to seeing a completely blurry image, you will know your image is out of focus when the wrong part of it is in focus. Also, with poor focusing you will often find that the blur is smoother or softer whereas with camera shake the blur will have a more jagged or harsh look.HOLD YOUR PHONE STEADY

To minimise shake and eliminate the blur hold your phone steady with two hands, bring your elbow to your side and hold your breath.

PROP YOUR PHONE

Another way to reduce camera shake is to prop your phone on a steady base for extra stability. This could be a table, a wall, the ground or a tripod.

TAP THE SHUTTER RELEASE BUTTON GENTLY 

Even if you have a steady grip or are using a tripod, often when you press the shutter release button, the camera moves slightly. So, if you tap the button lightly, you can avoid potential blurriness.

DON’T USE THE DIGITAL ZOOM

Unfortunately, using the digital zoom will result in a pixelated image and will make the camera shake even more pronounced. If you want to get a close-up, either get close or take the photo without the zoom and crop it later.

GET ENOUGH LIGHT

When taking pictures in low light situations, like at night or in a dark place, your photo is prone to blurriness. To avoid this, try to take the photo closer to the strongest light source.ELBOWS IN

As often as possible pull your elbows in to your body and exhale completely before pressing the shutter button. Pulling your elbows tight to your body can really help keep you steady. You can also press your elbows firmly into your chest for even greater stability.

RAISE YOUR LEFT SHOULDER

For stability, raise your left shoulder, brace your left elbow into your rib-cage and pull your right elbow in to your chest. Again, exhale completely before depressing the shutter button to avoid introducing shake.

PRACTICE BETTER SHUTER BUTTON TECHNIQUE

Always try to press the shutter button half-way first, then gently press the button with no more pressure/speed than necessary.

TAKE THREE SHOTS IN SERIES

Often the very act of knowing you’ll have to hold your hands steady can make it more difficult to do so. But when taking three images in a row, you’ll find that there’s a big difference in sharpness between each image, in part because you’re less concerned about the individual shots.Well there you have it! You now know a few techniques to reduce camera shake. Practice them and after a while, they’ll become automatic and you won’t even think as you use them in your daily photography. Don’t forget to enter our #CalendarPets competition by sharing your sharp and clear images with us on our Facebook page here. Happy shooting!

About the Author: Matt Cooper

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