If you want to capture sharpened images consistently, then you’ve come to the right place.
Because whilst achieving clean, crisp, razor-sharp photos may seem difficult, it’s actually pretty easy – once you know the right techniques. And that’s what I’ll talk about in this article, today: my top 11 best tips, techniques, and secrets for crisper images.
So whether you’re a beginner struggling to deal with blur, or an experienced photographer searching for that extra bit of quality, read on!
1 . Hold your camera correctly
What’s the number one most common cause of image blur?
When you press the shutter button, if your camera is definitely moving even imperceptibly , you may end up with a blurry photo. This is also true when shooting with telephoto lenses, at high magnifications, or in low light.
That’s why, if you’re looking to take sharper photos, you should clean up on your handholding technique. Grip your camera in one hand and cup an additional hand under the lens. Keep your camera close to your body, maintain your elbows tight, and – when possible – support yourself with a wall, a tree, or another solid item.
Furthermore, make sure to press the shutter button lightly ; don’t punch at it.
Proper handholding method will provide a major increase in sharpness, but it’s not foolproof. In case you shoot in low light, you may struggle to get sharpened handheld shots, which is exactly where my next tip is available in handy:
2 . Use a tripod
If sharp photos are your goal, then utilizing a tripod is the absolute best thing you can do for yourself.
You’ll need to purchase a sturdy tripod, though; a cheap, plasticky model will offer small gains (and may even raise the blur, depending on other factors).
If you’re shooting long exposures at night, then a tripod is essential. I’d furthermore recommend taking a tripod for many landscape photography, as well as situations where you’re using a lengthy lens.
Before grabbing your tripod, though, ask yourself: Is it really practical to bring this with me? If your tripod is relatively weighty and you’re going on a long hike or traveling simply by plane, you may be better off without having it. (Pro tip: If you like to do photography while traveling, purchase a good travel tripod. They’re sturdy plus compact! )
3. Pick a fast shutter speed
Here’s another main culprit of blurry pictures:
A too-slow shutter quickness .
The thing is, the shutter speed refers to the length of time the camera messfühler is exposed to the light. And if the shutter speed is simply too long, elements of your image will have time to move (and your setup will have time for you to shake, as well).
If you’re using a tripod and your subject is stationary (e. g., a wilderness landscape), you generally do not need to worry about using a fast shutter speed. But if you are handholding your camera or you’re hoping to freeze fast action, then a fast shutter speed is essential.
How do you pick the right shutter speed for tack-sharp images? If your subject will be stationary , use the reciprocal “rule” meant for handholding:
Your shutter speed must be faster than the lens’s central length.
So if your lens is definitely 50mm, then shoot with 1/50s or above. If your lens is 100mm, then shoot at 1/100s plus above. If your lens is definitely 200mm, then shoot from 1/200s and above. Seem sensible?
The principle isn’t perfect, and I suggest choosing your shutter rate conservatively (a too-fast shutter speed is rarely harmful). In particular, you’ll need to err on the side of caution when you use a long lens, shooting on high magnifications, or capturing with an unstable foundation (e. g., you’re standing on the chair).
Keep in mind that you cannot choose your shutter speed in isolation. If you increase the shutter speed, your images will turn out darker – unless you increase the ISO or even widen the aperture to balance out the exposure.
4. Choose a slim aperture
Aperture impacts the
Now, simply by narrowing your aperture, you will increase the window of focus in your images. An aperture of f/16 may keep the entire scene sharp (depending on various factors, together with your lens’s focal length). Whereas an aperture of f/2. 8 will generally give a tiny window of clarity.
So if your pictures are blurry because the level of field is too thin, just dial in an aperture of f/8, f/11, or maybe f/16, and you should see a substantial increase in sharpness.
Technically, if your images are blurry because you skipped focus, you should work on your focusing technique (as I actually discuss below). But simply by narrowing the aperture (and consequently deepening the depth of field), you can give yourself a bit of extra freedom when shooting.
Note that narrowing the aperture will also darken the image, thus you’ll need to keep an eye on your own exposure as you make adjustments. You can compensate by lowering the shutter speed or even raising the ISO, require have significant consequences, when i explain throughout this article.
5. Keep your ISO as low as possible
In several of the above suggestions, I’ve discussed the possibility of raising your ISO for a better exposure – and in certain cases, this is a good idea. A high ISO can increase the picture exposure so you get a detailed photo.
However , high ISOs come with a downside, called sound . Noise is essentially little speckles of light plus color across your shots, and when it gets beyond control, it can seriously impact clarity.
So what ISO should you use for sharpened images? It depends on your digital camera, and high-ISO noise overall performance is improving all the time. Nowadays, you can often get away having an ISO of up to 800 or even 1600, especially if you use a latest full-frame camera.
And if you’re in times where you need a fast shutter speed (e. g., you are shooting an indoor sport), it is better to boost the ISO than to underexpose all your photos.
But whenever possible, fixed your ISO to the base value. That’s how you’ll get the sharpest pictures.
(Note that you can also reduce noise in post-processing. But this usually comes with a slight dip inside image quality, so be careful! )
6. Turn on your image stablizing
Many digital cameras and lenses offer picture stabilization, which is designed to intelligently counteract camera shake.
So if your equipment has this option, use it. Image stabilization certainly isn’t perfect, but it’ll let you handhold at very sluggish shutter speeds, especially if you’re using top-of-the-line image-stabilized products. In some low-light situations, you can also get away without using a tripod.
Keep in mind that image stabilization helps with camera movement but not subject movement – so if you’re shooting low-light action, it won’t offer improved sharpness (though some lenses do offer sharpness increases when panning in low light; for more details, seek advice from your lens manual).
And one more issue:
If you mount your camera to a tripod and drop the shutter speed below 1/80s or so, then turn off image stabilization. You won’t need the stabilization – your tripod will keep your photos sharp – and energetic image stabilization on a rock-solid base can actually increase blur.
seven. Improve your focusing technique (and use the right settings)
If you often find that the incorrect part of your own photo is sharp, after that you’re dealing with a focusing issue.
First, I’d recommend checking your focusing settings . When shooting stationary subjects, make sure your camera is set to AF-S (One-Shot AF on Canon). And when photographing moving subjects, arranged your camera to AF-C (AI-Servo on Canon).
Also, adjust your own focusing points. The best choice will depend on the scenario, but a single-point setting generally functions for still subjects, whilst a group of AF points or some form of AF tracking is much better for moving subjects.
When focusing on fast-moving subjects, make sure to look through the viewfinder, not the FLAT SCREEN. And pan your camera along with the subjects (and carry on and pan, even after you’ve hit the shutter button).
When focusing on stationary subjects, it’s often better to use the focus-and-recompose technique, to grab focus on your area of interest, continue to half-press the shutter button (this will lock focus), then recompose unless you get the result you want. Just then should you press the particular shutter button down the remaining way.
Professional tip: If you’re photographing a topic in near darkness or even up close and your lens helps to keep missing focus, just change over to manual focus. In that case carefully adjust the point associated with focus using the focus ring on the lens barrel. Certain, it’s a slower method, but at least it gets the job done!
8. Make sure your lenses are usually sharp
That one is for DSLR and mirrorless owners:
Invest in the best lenses you can afford, because they can majorly influence image sharpness.
Kit zooms (such as the 18-55mm glass that is often bundled with beginner cameras) tend to be on the soft side, especially compared to pro-level lenses offered by major lens manufacturers.
If you don’t have a big spending budget but you want to upgrade your lenses, check out fixed-focal-length choices (called primes ). These tend to cost very little, yet the image quality is outstanding.
Alternatively, you are able to look for pro-level zooms to the used market; you can often grab them for fifty percent the price you’d pay for a brand new item.
Shortly after buying my initial DSLR, I was in the market for a regular zoom lens that would give me both wide and telephoto zoom lens capabilities. I bought a Canon EF 28-135mm lens . It was a great lens (and reasonably priced), but the sharpness was lacking. A few months later, I lent a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L zoom lens (“L” will be Canon’s professional series of lenses), and I was amazed from the difference in sharpness. While the first lens was good for what I paid for it, I actually ended up going for an upgrade (and the new lens is almost permanently attached to my digital camera! ).
Incidentally, before you go spend a fortune about new glass, it’s worth asking: Are my lenses really that soft? Sure, you may not use thousand-dollar lens, but plenty of lenses are excellent enough , especially if you mostly just talk about your images on social media.
9. Get your eyes checked
It might surprise you, but poor vision can decrease image sharpness, too! You may fail to acquire perfect focus, you might accidentally focus in the completely wrong place, or you might not observe if your lens has a focusing problem.
Therefore get your eyes checked! I recently got mine tested the first time in a number of years, and I was surprised to find that they’d deteriorated significantly. Getting brand new glasses improved a number of areas of my life, one of which was the photography.
On a related note, in case your camera has a diopter , then adapt it. A diopter is a little wheel positioned next to your own viewfinder, and it lets you fine-tune the sharpness of the viewfinder image. The diopter is very useful for people with poor eyesight because it can compensate for poor vision (that way, a person won’t have to wear glasses when out shooting! ).
10. Clear your equipment
Over time, your lenses may pick up dirt, dust, streaks, fingerprints, and various other items – all of which can decrease sharpness.
So purchase a camera cleaning kit (you can buy them on Amazon just for a few dollars ), then dedicate an hour or so to cleaning all your lenses. You’ll need to work carefully, because bad cleansing technique can permanently scuff or stain your lens elements.
Likewise, if you have a DSLR or even mirrorless camera, dust can get into the sensor and result in unwanted blotches. I’d recommend letting professionals handle the sensor clean – it can be damaging when done wrong – but if you’ve noticed unpleasant spots all across your own pictures, then it might be time for you to get one done.
11. Use your lens’s aperture sweet spot
As you adjust your lens’s aperture, the image will become softer and crisper depending on the environment.
Wide apertures, such as f/2. 8, are generally softer, whereas the “sweet spot” range is generally close to f/8. (Go too narrow, and you’ll start to see softening due to diffraction, so I’d recommend stopping before f/13 or so. )
Of course , the specifics depend on your lenses, so be sure to carefully test each one; take a series of shots at various apertures, then pixel-peep on your pc to identify the sharpest files.
By the way, in case you own a zoom lens, you may even want to test sharpness across its focal length variety. Many zooms get much softer as you move toward the particular extremes, and by identifying the perfect focal lengths, you can get even sharper images.
How to take sharp pictures: final words
Now that you’ve finished this article, you know that capturing razor-sharp photos isn’t hard – it simply involves improving your knowledge and technique.
So follow the guidelines I’ve shared above, and your images are basically guaranteed to improve.
At this point over to you:
Which of these suggestions do you plan to use? Is to do you have any tips of your for taking sharp photos? Share your thoughts in the comments below!