It does not matter whether you are taking family snapshots for photo books in Brisbane or trying to capture a night time scene along a busy city street back in Bangkok, camera shake and its resulting blurriness can ruin your otherwise excellent hand-held photos. This is especially true if you are one of the many people who struggle with hands that seem to shake even more when you try to hold them steady. While you may never be able to completely eliminate camera shake, you may be able to significantly reduce it. Here are some tips to show you how.
The mechanics of camera shake
When the shutter speed of your camera is too slow in comparison to the unintentional movement of your camera, the resulting photos will appear blurry and distorted. You can either decrease your exposure time by increasing your shutter speed or find ways to keep your camera more steady.
Because a faster shutter speed will probably not eliminate camera shake when the camera is held by unsteady hands, and the steadiest hands will never be able to hold a camera still well enough during shot that requires a multiple-second exposure, the best solution is to combine both techniques.
Increasing your shutter speed
There are three methods you can use to increase the shutter speed and avoid camera shake. You can refine your exposure settings, avoid overexposing the subject and improve the lighting of the subject.
Use the correct exposure settings
If your camera is set to automatic, it is probably already compensating in whatever way it can to increase the shutter speed. To refine and optimise your exposure settings manually, try to use the lowest f-stop and the highest ISO speed you can with the subject. When you are selecting an aperture, consider using an extended depth of field.
Do not overexpose
To help prevent an accidental overexposure, try to avoid dark-shaded subject and indoor lighting that is uneven. These things can cause the metering system of your camera to select an exposure time that is greater than what is needed.
Improve the lighting
Try using a flash. If you are taking shots with a camera that features a built-in flash system, get closer to the subject. This will help illuminate it better and will help increase the shutter speed. If you are not using a flash, try to improve the ambient lighting. Move the subject to an area that is more brightly lit or wait for the subject to move to one.
Improving your steadiness
While increasing the shutter speed often helps reduce the effects of camera shake, you can boost your efforts by using some of the following camera holding techniques.
Use the proper grip
The best way to hold a camera is with two hands in a grip that is firm but not too tight. Taking shots with a large telephoto lens can be difficult, so place one of your hands underneath the lens to steady it, and hold the camera body in your other hand. Good posture is also important. Relax, and keep your arms close to your body.
Use a bracing technique
Take advantage of your surroundings. If you can, lean against a wall, or sit, kneel or lay on the ground. As long as you can keep at least three points on your body in contact with a stable object as you shoot, you should be able to reduce camera shake. If you can rest your camera directly against a stable object, camera shake will be reduced further still.
Go easy on the shutter button
Never push your shutter button down with a single motion. Too much pressure applied too fast will move the camera enough to blur the shot. Instead, press the button down partially at first, and finish it gently when you are ready to take the shot.
About the Author
Andre Smith is a marketing coordinator working for a company in Brisbane, Australia. He has always enjoyed arts and technology and find great pleasure in exploring new places and experiencing different cultures.