One of the things that make photography challenging and at times frustrating is the softness and blur in pictures. Sharp photos are much more attractive than soft images.
It is very disappointing when the picture of a special moment comes out blurry or out of focus. So, in this article, we will go through the techniques that are used to make sure that the images always come out tack sharp.
First, let’s look at the reasons why an image might come out to be blurry:
Your subject could possibly be moving and causing motion blur.
A long shutter speed captures a camera shake, which then produces a blurry image.
You might have a low-quality lens or a lens that is not capable of producing sharp photos.
Poor focus acquisition will result in a soft image.
The ISO is at a very high number then which results in lots of noise and loss of detail.
If we address these issues then it will help achieve optimal sharpness. So here, is a guide to resolving the above-mentioned cases.
Say yes to Sharp Pictures
Start with base ISO
Always start by setting your camera to the lowest ISO “base” value. Because the camera base ISO will produce high-quality images with maximum sharpness. As you increase the ISO (sensor sensitivity), you will notice more noise in the image and blur sets in.
Choose the Camera Mode thoughtfully
When you are taking pictures in low light use Aperture-Priority mode and set the aperture to the widest setting, that is the smallest f-number. This is usually varying around f/1.4 to f/5.6 depending on the lens.
The camera will automatically meter the scene and evaluate what the shutter speed must be to properly expose the image. For a feedback adjustment, you can go for exposure compensation. So, in short, set your camera to aperture-priority mode and choose the aperture to the lowest possible f-number
Use the Hand-Holding Rule
In the case of a zoom lens that goes beyond 100mm, apply the general hand-holding “rule”, which says that the shutter speed matrix should be equivalent to the focal length set on the lens, or faster. For example, if you have your lens zoomed at 100 mm, your shutter speed should be at least 1/100 of a second.
Keep in mind that this only reduces the chances of blur from camera shake. If you are taking pictures of an object that is moving very fast then you need a quicker shutter speed than this calculated one to get a sharp picture.
- If the shutter speed is about 1/100 or faster, you are good to go, unless anything in your photo is moving fast. Shot a few first pictures and see if you are getting any blur in your image. If anything turns out to be blurry – be it the entire image, or just one fast-moving object – use a quicker shutter speed like 1/300 or 1/500 second.
- On the other hand, if the shutter speed shows below 1/100, it means there is simply not enough light. If the setup is indoor then opening up windows to let some light in or turning some light source on will help to increase your shutter speed.
Hold the camera steadily
While you can hand-hold your camera and utilize the math behind shutter speed and blur images, the images can still come blurred. The reasons, your stance, breathing, and body movement all play a massive role in stabilizing the camera and producing shake-free images.
Think about holding a rifle in your hand. You wouldn’t want to make even slight movements while trying to shoot at the target, you will try to stand as steady and stable as possible before you shoot. The same goes for your camera too.
Consider High ISO for Dark Environments
If you are still receiving blurry images then raise the ISO. For this, you can use Auto ISO or you can manually increase ISO. In dark environments, it is not uncommon to use a reasonably high ISO in order to get a fast-enough shutter speed. Although this adds more grain to a photo which is usually better than capturing a blurry image.
Say Cheese and Stay freeze
If you are photographing a portrait of a person ask them to say cheese and stay freeze and not move while you take their picture.
When you work with slow shutter speeds and you make sure everything is right but your images still come out blurry just because your subject moved while the shutter was open then this is called motion blur. Sometimes people like the effect of the motion blur especially for high-speed objects like cars and for Instagram trends.
To use this feature set your camera to Shutter-Priority mode, then set your shutter to about 1/100 of a second or even less.
Ask your subject to do a little movement quickly for example waving, while not moving the whole body. The result that you get is a sharp picture of the person’s body while having a motion blur on his/her hand.
Clean the lenses
There is a simple way to bring contrast and sharpness to images. Something that goes unnoticed but has a significant role to play in your photography skills, the lenses. Do not forget to clean the lens. Because a greasy and dirty front element of the lens is guaranteed to produce inaccurate camera focusing and poor image contrast.
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