Learn Photography Online at IDA University - Take our well designed 30 day free course and learn photography through some great photos and tutorials

Avoiding Camera Shake in Photography

Avoiding Camera Shake

Camera Shake in Photography, Avoiding Camera Shake

Photo By: David Goehring

Camera shake is a major reason behind any blurry image. While shooting, the tiniest of jerk can make the image look smudged. Photographers do complain about camera shake, especially those who are beginners and don’t have steady hands. Following are some of the guidelines which can be used to avoid camera shake:

Increasing Shutter speed

While capturing a scene, an increased shutter speed means reduced time of exposure. Increased shutter speed removes the effects of camera shake as the image is captured within a very small time-frame. In low lighting conditions, where shutter speed needs to be slower, you can use the camera at relatively high shutter speed by increasing aperture size. Another option in low lighting conditions is the use of flash. Use off-camera flash or other lighting sources to improve the lighting condition in order to be able to use a relatively faster shutter speed.

Boosting your ISO can also be one of the options to let you use the fast shutter speed but one has to be cautious as it may result in introduction of some noise in your image. Still, modern DSLRs produce relatively good quality of image at a slightly higher ISO value.

Improve handheld technique

There are several ways of holding a camera to avoid hand shake. One such suggested technique is to hold the camera with your ‘elbows tucked in’. Tucked-in elbows get support from your body thus, providing more stability to your hands. Another simple technique of improving handheld is to look for a stable surface i.e. while shooting indoors; walls can be used as support whereas while shooting outdoors, a tree or a stone can be used for support to enhance camera stability. Using a firm and comfortable grip over your camera is the most essential and common method. Holding your camera in the palm of left hand and pressing the shutter with index finger of your right hand is the easiest technique of all.

While using a long and heavy glass such as a telephoto lens, holding the lens with one of your hands will provide better stability to your camera. Even though it is a limited technique, sitting down and resting your elbows on your knees or lying down and using the hard surface of land as a support can also be helpful. Shooting in burst mode or taking more than one shot of a scene is also a good technique to reduce the after effects of camera shake as, out of many, it is much likely to get at least a few images with better sharpness.

Grip Equipment

The best way to avoid camera shake is using a tripod or monopod. A tripod gives your camera all the stability it needs and avoids camera shake in almost every situation. A monopod also becomes very handy as it carries all the weight of the camera and heavy lenses however, the photographer is also required to keep it stable using his hands. Using tripod also gives you freedom from using fast shutter speed and slow shutter shots can be very easily taken using it. Slow shutter shot means long exposure time which results mostly in camera shake while holding the camera.

Using a cable release with tripod provides even more stability to camera. While pressing the shutter button, camera may shake and the resulting blur can wipe off all your efforts of using tripod, but a shutter release removes even that possibility and provides a greater amount of stability to your camera. Cable release can also be fired using remote triggers and are a good way to avoid any contact with camera which may lead to camera shake.

Another convenient technique is using the camera timer while shooting. In this case, you can keep your camera on a tripod, compose a scene, adjust the timer and the image is shot automatically as per the timer. This technique works very well while capturing landscape or other similar shots in which there is no movement of the focused object but, it does not work in capturing action scenes as the object is constantly moving in the later case.

Image Stabilization (IS) or Vibration Reduction (VR)

DSLR camera lenses come equipped with image stabilization or vibration reduction technologies. These lenses reduce the effect of camera shake and are quite good at what they do! These lenses allow a photographer to shoot at a fast shutter speed while taking hand-held shots. Some cameras are also available with shake reduction technique. So, while purchasing lenses or a camera, make sure to consider the ones with IS or VR technology.

Long and heavy telephoto lenses produce more vibration in the front of lens if the camera shakes even very little on the back because of their length resulting in a hazier image. Hence, avoid using a telephoto lens as much as possible and use the handheld technique instead.

All the above mentioned techniques can be used effectively to avoid camera shake in order to produce better quality of images. Also, rigorous practise with your camera is one of the most effective ways of steadying your hands as it will give you a level of comfort and clear understanding of your gripping and camera holding technique.

Camera Shake in Photography, Avoiding Camera Shake

Photo By: itchys

After using all these techniques if you still happen to capture a blurry image, you can use the post-production software tools to correct the sharpness of that image. Using a ‘sharpening’ tool to sharpen an image can improve its quality a bit but it will fail in correcting the entire burring in that image. Hence, continue to use and practice these techniques and sooner or later you will successfully acquire that grip and you will no longer excel in clicking blur images.