How To Achieve Sharper Images

Howdy Y'all,
oday, I just wanted to share with you a few ways to get sharper images. We all know that motion is a quick way to ruin a clear, crisp picture. But there are a few other things that can play into sharpness as well. So I'm going to start listing.

 

Getting Sharper Images

Tripod:

       I love tripods! If I'm out doing any kind of nature or landscape, I almost always (actually, always) have my tripod with me. Using a tripod could be the quickest way to improve the sharpness of your images. If your doing individual portraits, you probably wouldn't use a tripod. But group shots and other types of photography you may want to use a tripod.

Remote/Cable Release:

       If you're shooting on a tripod, then a remote or cable release can help to reduce shake as well. You'd be amazed at how much shake is produced just from pushing the shutter button, even on a tripod. So a remote or cable release can also help reduce shake.

Exposure Delay:

 

Stance/Posture:

        There are many different ways to stand or brace yourself while taking a picture to give you the best balance and most stable base. The way I've found is most steady for me is to stand like shooting a gun. There are also many other ways, but that's what I've found works best for me. Also, brace yourself against something. Lean against a tree or pole, rest your arms or camera on a table, railing, etc. This gives more stability too.

Press the Shutter Softly:

Press the shutter button as softly as possible. Often this means slowly and also it can also help to "roll" your finger onto the shutter instead of pressing straight down.

Shutter Speed:

Hopefully you know what shutter speed is. If not, it's how quickly the shutter opens and closes (i.e. 1/200th of a second, 2 seconds, etc.). Either way, the longer the shutter is open the more chance you have of it picking up motion and causing blur. So increase your shutter speed to something faster. Here is a good rule of thumb for shutter speeds. If your lens is at 200mm, then shoot at a minimum of 1/200th of a second. If your lens is at 80mm, then shoot at minimum 1/80th of a second. Get the idea? However, if your camera has a crop sensor (isn't full frame. I'll do a blog later on this) then this rule will be slightly adjusted. My camera is a 1.5x crop. This means that when my lens is at 200mm, my image is going to be shot as if I had a 300mm lens on there. I'll explain this detail later, but basically 200mm x 1.5crop = 300. So in this case if my lens is at 200mm, then shoot minimum of 1/300th. And these minimums can fluctuate  depending on a how well you do other elements such as stance.

Vibration Reduction:

On some Nikon lenses there is a switch called "VR" or "Vibration Reduction". On Canon it's "Image Stabilization" or "SI". What this turns on is a little motor in the lens that counteracts the natural movement of holding the camera. Depending on the VR or IS technology, you can generally shoot at lower shutter speeds by about 1-2 stops and even greater for some lenses. However, don't leave this feature on if you're shooting on a tripod. It's counter productive for some reason.

Other ways to get sharper images:

Lenses:

        I hate to break it to you, but kit lenses aren't going to give the absolute sharpest images. There good, but not great. There is a reason that nice lenses can get up to $5,000 or more. One reason is because they use a lot better glass in the lens which can deliver sharper images. So better lenses will help give you sharper images,if your still shooting not blurry images to begin with.

Aperture:

       I did a paragraph on this in my previous post on Understanding Aperture. But basically, there is a sharpest aperture on your lens. For example, f/11 may produce a sharper image than f/5.6. Read my linked post for more info.

Post-editing:

       And last but not least, there are many different ways to sharpen your images in post-production. There are too many ways for me to tell you without doing another post, so I'll save it for another day.

So that was a long post, but hopefully that give you a few new ideas of methods to try for sharper images.  Till next time, ta-ta!

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