Shaky Top Ten

…or rather, I will teach you how not to shake it all up. What do you do to avoid motion blur? A quick repeat of a common beginner’s lesson here this morning: the Top Ten techniques to avoid motion blur due to camera shake in your pictures.

First, make sure you distinguish motion blur from lack of focus. If it is motion blur, it has “streaky” lines.

If indeed you are experiencing motion blur, it means the shutter is slow with respect to the angular speed. And to avoid that, you can do the following:

  1. Ensure your shutter speed is fast enough. A rule of thumb is “one divided by the lens length” – so for a 50mm lens, stay faster than 1/50th second, and for a 24mm lens, stay faster than 1/24th second – etc. So ensure you stay well above these speeds – increase your ISO if needed, or use a faster lens (one with a lower “f-number”).
  2. Hold the camera with an underhand grip, not the amateur’s overhand grip. This is more stable. It also makes you look like a pro. See the picture below.
  3. Use the viewfinder, not the screen on the back of the camera.
  4. Hold your eye against the camera, now away from it.
  5. Steady yourself; elbows pressed into your sides, legs slightly apart.
  6. Do not breathe, or just steadily breathe out, while shooting.
  7. Use a wide angle lens! The longer your lens, the more motion blur you will see. The wider the lens, the less you will see.
  8. Use a tripod! Unless your subject is moving, of course.
  9. Use a stabilized lens. VR (Vibration Reduction) / IS (Image Stabilization) are great technologies, worth every penny – they give you several extra stops of usable shutter speeds.
  10. Take several shots, if you cannot avoid slow shutter speeds. One of them will be sharp, accidentally. 🙂

How to hold a camera properly

Once you do the above properly, you will no longer have motion-blurred pictures. It is as simple as that.


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