Sharper Shots

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ PHO­TOG­RA­PHY ]

DIS­COVER WHY YOUR PIC­TURES MAY BE BLURRED – AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT [ TECHLIFE TEAM ]

THERE ARE MANY rea­sons why you might re­ject a photo – the ex­po­sure be­ing off and un­re­cov­er­able for one. Per­haps the back­ground of your shot isn’t com­ple­men­tary to the sub­ject. Maybe you’ve missed the mo­ment al­to­gether. But ditch­ing pic­tures be­cause they’re not sharp enough is prob­a­bly the most com­mon rea­son for trash­ing a pic­ture.

While fac­tors such as lens qual­ity and the amount of dig­i­tal pro­cess­ing ap­plied to an image make a dif­fer­ence to sharp­ness, there are ba­si­cally two things that you can do to get sharper pho­tos out of your cam­era. The first is to use a shut­ter speed fast enough to freeze any move­ment – whether that’s sub­ject move­ment or un­in­ten­tional move­ment of the cam­era dur­ing the ex­po­sure. The sec­ond (pretty im­por­tant, this) is to make sure the sub­ject is in fo­cus.

Your cam­era has a num­ber of dif­fer­ent fo­cus­ing modes that you can match to the type of pic­ture you’re tak­ing. Set the wrong mode, and you’re likely to end up with a blurred mess. If the sub­ject isn’t mov­ing, choose the One-Shot or Sin­gle-Shot AF mode. In this mode, the lens will stop fo­cus­ing once it’s locked onto a sub­ject and won’t move again un­less you take your fin­ger off the shut­ter re­lease. If the sub­ject is mov­ing, set the Servo or Con­tin­u­ous AF op­tion, as the cam­era will then con­tin­u­ously ad­just the fo­cus to try and

YOUR CAM­ERA HAS A NUM­BER OF DIF­FER­ENT FO­CUS­ING MODES THAT YOU CAN MATCH TO THE TYPE OF PIC­TURE YOU’RE TAK­ING. SET THE WRONG MODE, AND YOU’RE LIKELY TO END UP WITH A BLURRED MESS.

keep the sub­ject sharp as it moves.

The length of time it takes to record a pic­ture is a cru­cial fac­tor when it comes to get­ting sharp re­sults. The faster the ex­po­sure, the more likely it is that you’ll freeze mo­tion. There are two types of mo­tion you need to think about: sub­ject move­ment and cam­era move­ment. The shut­ter speed re­quired to stop a mov­ing sub­ject de­pends on the dis­tance the sub­ject is from the cam­era, the speed it’s mov­ing and the di­rec­tion of travel; but it’s safe to say that you’ll prob­a­bly need a faster shut­ter speed than you think.

Un­in­ten­tional cam­era move­ment is in­vari­ably the more chal­leng­ing type of mo­tion to deal with. In fact, the cam­era doesn’t have to be flail­ing wildly for pic­tures to be ru­ined: just a slight move­ment dur­ing the ex­po­sure can lead to a blurred pic­ture – whether that’s a slight soft­en­ing of de­tails or a com­plete fuzzy shot over­all. Fol­low our guide over­leaf to hold­ing a cam­era the right way to im­prove your hand­held hit rate.

Even the ac­tion of the mir­ror bounc­ing up and down in­side a DSLR can be enough to take the edge off de­tails dur­ing slower ex­po­sures. For sit­u­a­tions that mag­nify the ef­fects of mir­ror vi­bra­tions, such as when you’re us­ing a long lens or shoot­ing ex­treme close-ups, ac­ti­vate your cam­era’s mir­ror lock-up func­tion if your cam­era has this fea­ture, or shoot in Live View when the mir­ror is locked out of the way au­to­mat­i­cally. It makes sense to use a tri­pod when us­ing ei­ther of these op­tions, as this will help you max­imise ev­ery last drop of sharp­ness.

With cam­era shake

Without cam­era shake

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