March 18, 2016
Unfortunately, we’ve all experienced a great day of shooting, only to discover the shots we took looked blurry or too soft. It is difficult when you are out shooting to get a true perspective on the clarity of your images on the small LCD screen on the back of your camera. Even zooming in doesn’t guarantee clarity! In almost all of these cases, the reason for that is camera movement or camera shake. When the camera moves while the shutter is open the result is a soft or blurry photos. Usually camera movements are small and for that reason in high shutter speeds the camera does not have an opportunity to move enough. However, in some scenarios, such as slow shutter speeds or high zoom values even the tiniest movement will result in a blurry photo.
Most photos are taken when the camera is being hand held. Your hand, despite your personal beliefs, is an unstable platform and tends to move quite a bit. Moreover with digital cameras that are smaller and lighter than ever before, they are much harder to keep stable. Another cause for camera movement is aggressively pushing the shutter button, which in return moves the camera. It is always better to squeeze the shutter button very slowly to prevent the camera from moving. Choosing the right camera for weight, grip and shutter button sensitivity is one recommended way to minimize camera shake.
As a general rule photos that are taken with slow shutter speeds or high zoom values should be taken using a more stable platform than your hand. A stable platform can be anything that is firm and stable: a table, a shelf, a chair or a garbage can in the street. However the recommended platform that is considered the most stable and professional is a tripod.
There are many types of tripods in the market. They can vary widely in size, weight, price and other features. The most important criteria when choosing a tripod, is to pick one that will be easy to use. For example, if you are traveling consider a tripod that is easy to carry and lightweight otherwise you will end up leaving the tripod in the hotel room while missing great photo opportunities. On the other hand if you take photos in a studio consider a heavier, more professional tripod.
Another important feature to consider is the tripods height. Many tripods’ can be locked at any height up to a maximum. Ideally you would want a tripod that extends to your height allowing photos to be taken from the same angle as your eyes as if they were taken by hand. Many portable tripods extend to a waist height or less. In these situations the tripod will be put on a raised platform or the photos can be taken from a low angle.
In cases where a tripod is simply not available, you can improvise by using many other available platform options that exist around you. Remember to keep your camera steady!
Good luck…and good shooting!