One of the most popular questions I receive is “How do you get your photos so sharp?”. If you are shooting something stationary then my number one advice would be to use a tripod but my guess is you are shooting moving objects like kids, dogs, or husbands so you need to figure out how to get sharp photos without a tripod.
No.01You need a good lens.
I hate to break it to you but a kit lens (the one that came with your camera) just isn’t as sharp as others. That being said, you shouldn’t rely on your equipment to take sharp photos. Just because you have a super expensive lens doesn’t mean you are going to get sharp photos if you don’t know how to use it. The same thing can be said for a kit lens, if you use it right you can get some sharp photos.
Read more: What lens should I buy first?
No.02Make sure your shutter speed is AT LEAST 1/125.
I know we talked about this when we discussed shooting in manual mode but it can’t be said enough. If you are photographing a moving subject you need to stay above 1/125. I have even read some people say they don’t go below 1/250 if they are photographing kids. However, sometimes the lighting isn’t in my favor to shoot that fast. Personally, I don’t go below 1/125 if I’m shooting my kids.
I should have lowered my aperture number so I could have increased my shutter speed.
No.03Lock your elbows.
Since you don’t have time to set up your shots for a tripod you need to be your own tripod. Lock your elbows as close to your body as possible.
No.04Snap in between breaths
If you hold your breath when you take your shot you are less likely to move. I’m not talking about holding your breath for a long time. Just for a split second. More like take the photo in between breaths. You would be surprised how a subtle movement on your part can cause a blurry picture.
No.05Don't shoot wide open.
I am a huge fan of shooting wide open but you need to figure out your lens and become very comfortable with nailing your focus. If you shoot wide open (at a low number like f1.8) you are more likely to have your focal point fall on something other than the eye or whatever you are focusing on because you have such a small field in focus.
No.06Press your shutter release button softly.
You don’t need to push your shutter release button very hard. The harder you push the button the more likely you are having accidental camera shake blur your photo. Be gentle.
I talked about this on Monday but I can’t say it enough. Using this added feature to get sharper photos can only improve your photos.
If you leave your focal point on the center button then only the center of your photo will be sharp. This isn’t a good thing unless the person’s eye is in the middle of the photo (which isn’t a very interesting composition). Make sure you change your focal point so that the focus is on your subject’s eye.
I hope these tips can help you improve the sharpness of your photos. Please don’t rely on post-processing to “sharpen” your photos. This is definitely something you need to nail in camera. Practice, practice, practice!