Almost 100 Ways To Take Sharper Photographs

Is there anyone who doesn’t want their photographs to be sharper? It is one of the most common questions people ask me.

So here you go! Almost 100 ways to get sharper photos!

Steady Your Camera

  • Use a tripod when it’s practical.
  • Use a solid surface to rest your camera when a tripod isn’t practical.
  • Use a remote release when it’s practical. (It’s usually not practical for me, so keep on reading.)

Use Good Form

  • Steady yourself against a doorway or other solid surface.
  • Tuck your arms into your body, steadying them against your chest. TIGHT!
  • Press your eye tight against the viewfinder.
  • Get a firm grip with both hands.
  • Shoot like a sniper. Yes, I said it. I’ll let you google it!
  • Breathe out and shoot before you take a breath. (Okay, this is a sniper technique. I like to think of it as a yoga technique though!)

Watch Your Shutter Speed

  • Shoot with a shutter speed fast enough to stop motion, at least 1/125th of a second.
  • Use a FAST shutter speed for fast moving subjects, between 1/1000 to 1/5000 of a second.
  • Shoot with a shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake, at least 1/50th of a second with a 50mm lens.
  • Read more about shutter speed.

Use The “Right” Aperture

  • Watch your depth of field! Use an aperture narrow enough to get your subject in focus, think f/4.0 or f/5.6.
  • Avoid the lure of your widest aperture!
  • When more than one person is in the photo use a narrow aperture, think f/5.6 to f/11.
  • Find the “sweet spot.” Use an aperture one stop narrower than your widest aperture. If your lens is an f/1.8 choose f/2.5. Think of it as three “clicks” from your widest aperture.
  • Want to use your widest aperture? Step back from your subject some.
  • Read more about aperture.

Know Your ISO

  • Keep  your ISO low to get the least noise.
  • Learn the limit of your particular camera by shooting through your range of ISOs to learn how high you can push it.
  • Read more about ISO.

Look For Light

Focus-Focus-Focus

  • Avoid letting your camera choose the focal point.
  • Use your center focal point for the sharpest photos.
  • Opt to change your focus point rather than focus and recompose.
  • Learn back button focus. (Also known as Focus Lock or AF-On for Canon/AF-C for Nikon)
  • Watch your focal distance, leave enough space between the lens and your subject.
  • Keep things in the same visual plane to keep them sharp.
  • Focus on your subject’s eye that is closest to you.
  • Read more about focus.

Choose The “Right” Lens

  • Use your lenses’ vibration reduction (VR on Nikon) or image stabilization (IS on Canon).
  • Turn it off when your camera is on a tripod.
  • Shoot with a prime lens when possible. (Think 50mm, nifty fifty, it’s a bargain!)
  • Clean your lens! The more crud on your lens, the more chance it’s going to show up in your image.
  • Read more about lenses.

Mind The Odds & Ends

  • Shoot more than one photo. Check your drive mode and bump it to continuous shots!
  • Roll your finger slowly over the shutter button.
  • Slow down! Sometimes you do everything right but add your own movement to your image as you are moving on to the next thing before you click the shutter.

There you have it!

Put them all together, shoot with a bit of intention, and you’ll get sharper images.

What’s your go-to method for taking the sharpest photos?

 

(Okay, it’s a bit short of 100, but I really wanted to use that cute photo!)