6 Reasons Why You Have Blurry Photos
Manual Mode
6 Reasons Why You Have Blurry Photos

Are you wondering why you have blurry photos?

This is a common question that many photographers run into. We start learning manual mode and then we can’t figure out why our images are blurry instead of tack sharp.

There are several reasons your photos are blurry. Check out the reasons below.

  • No.
    Your shutter speed was too low

    When photographing a moving subject or any person for that matter, you should keep your shutter speed above 1/125. I try not to let my shutter speed dip below that no matter who I’m shooting.

    If you are photographing a fast moving toddler then I wouldn’t go below 1/250.

    Photographing a running dog or child on a bike? Then I wouldn’t go below 1/500.

    Be mindful of your shutter speed because if it is too low it creates a blurry image.

    Read more: 5 Tips for Freezing Motion in Photographs

  • No.
    You are shooting wide open

    It’s so tempting when you get a lens that can shoot wide open at f/1.8 that you want to shoot there all the time. I recommend looking into either the 50mm 1.8 or the 35mm 1.8 if you want an affordable sharp lens.

    I get it, you can get that blurry background you have been dreaming of.

    However, if your aperture is too wide, then the focal point is so small and if your subject moves even slightly then your image will not be tack sharp.

    Plus, if you are photographing a portrait and your subject is facing the camera at an angle, if you are shooting wide open then one of the eyes may appear soft.

    Read more:
    5 Reasons to Shoot in Manual Mode
    Simple Guide to Understanding Aperture (and How to Use it)

    Download this FREE manual mode cheat sheet!

  • No.
    You aren't choosing your focal point

    When shooting in manual mode you want to make sure that you are selecting your own focal point.

    You should be using single focal point so you can decide exactly what you want to be in focus.

    Read more: Changing Your Focal Point

  • No.
    Your focal point fell on the wrong spot

    When selecting your own focal point, the ideal place to put it is on your subject’s eye if you are photographing a person. However, if the subject moves slightly your focal point may fall on their eye brow, ear, or hair. This could cause your image to look soft if the eyes are tack sharp.

    Read more: 5 Ways to Create Catchlights

  • No.
    You aren't holding the camera correctly

    Although cameras now have live view LCD screens where you can hold your camera out to view what you are photographing, this could cause some camera shake. Instead, look through your view finder and lock your elbows. This will help you stabilize your camera for a sharper photo.

    Read more: Basic Photography Tips

  • No.
    You are using a poor quality lens

    Ask any photographer and they will tell you that the quality of lens you have greatly affects the look of your images. The kit lens that comes with many DSLR cameras isn’t the highest quality of lenses.

    Instead, you should purchase a lens like the ones mentioned in tip number two.

    Read more: How to use Kelvin for White Balance

blurry photos

Read more about ways to fix blurry photos:

7 tips to take a sharp photo
Tips to achieve sharp focus
Back button focus: Do you BBF?

I have been wondering why my photos are blurry and now I know. Super easy to understand tips!

Free Lightroom Presets

  • Suzi Owen
    April 19, 2017 at 6:21 PM

    Why, i was just saying that today…why are some of my photos blurry…low shutter speed, F/8. Why be late or in my case blurry. Low ISO… using manual and really need to learn more on setting creatively
    Th8s information was helpful and very easy to understand. Thanks Courtney

  • Mark Lemaster
    April 19, 2017 at 9:50 PM

    These are great tips. I would also consider using back button focus to the list as well. I do have a question though. I recently photographed some friends. It was taken in front of this gorgeous little waterfall. I wanted to motion blur the fall, so I kind of had to use the low shutter speed. Sadly, they did turn out more blurry than I like. It’s not super bad, but I find it very distracting. Aside from compositing the image, how would one account for that?

  • Yvonne
    April 20, 2017 at 7:34 PM

    Other things to consider are adjusting the diopter and calibrating your lenses. ;-)

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