Camera shake is one of those annoying little gremlins that can creep in and ruin your photographs. Even if you are shooting at what would be considered to be a relatively stable speed, such as 1/125, you can easily introduce camera shake and thus blur into your image.
To make sure that it is as stable as possible, use these tips – any one of them will make a difference, but combine them and you will be in for a much more stable image!
Monopods and Tripods
A tripod is one of the easiest ways to make your camera more stable. This three-legged piece of equipment can be adjust to the height and the angle that you need, and provides a solid base for your camera to sit on.
The benefit of using a tripod is that you can set it up in such a way that you don’t even need to touch the camera. Using a remote trigger, either attached by cable or using WiFi or Bluetooth signals, means you can stand away and avoid even adding the tremble caused by pushing a button.
This makes tripods ideal for low-speed photography and long exposures. On the other hand, however, they do have their disadvantages. If you are using a heavy camera setup, such as a long lens, you will need to think about upgrading to one of the more expensive models, as cheaper tripods can’t bear a lot of weight. You may even need to add an extra support to the lens itself when shooting on zoom.
It’s also harder to manoeuvre when using a tripod, so if you are used to springing around and taking shots at all kinds of different angles, you may be in for a shock. Constantly adjusting the tripod between shots can be tedious, so it is best used when you know the angle you want to take.
Tripods can be stable and level on all different terrains, as the adjustable legs can be used to change the angle and height whenever you need to. However, there are some situations in which tripods are not allowed, normally because they take up too much room. You aren’t likely to be allowed to use them in public spaces, where you risk blocking the path. At crowded fashion events, for example, a tripod also won’t make you any friends.
The solution to this is to use a monopod. Monopods, much as you might guess from the word itself, are single poles on which you can mount the camera. They offer a bit less stability as you have to hold them steady yourself, but they do provide more of a stable base than just your own hands. They also help to take the weight off you when you are shooting with heavy equipment.
The way you stand when you use your camera can also introduce, or reduce, camera shake. Your posture is very important, and there is absolutely a right way and a wrong way to stand when shooting.
In order to reduce camera shake as much as possible, start by tucking your elbows in towards your body. If you are using heavy equipment, don’t lift it to your face until you are ready to start shooting, to avoid tiring your arms early.
Next, spread your feet apart to shoulder-width or slightly further. This will give you a good, solid core and will prevent you from swaying on your feet too much.
When you are ready to take the shot, start with a calm, deep breath. This should help you find a moment of centred zen in which you can find stillness within yourself. At the moment after you have finished exhaling, press the shutter. This is when your body is at its quietest.
You can change the settings on the camera itself to help reduce camera shake and blur. Some cameras have an image stabilization mode which will aid in cutting out some of the problems, using smart technology to figure out what should be in the shot and what shouldn’t.
An easy method, no matter which camera you are using and even if it is a film camera, is to raise your shutter speed. The quicker the shutter opens and closes, the less chance there is that it will be affected by camera speed. There is still a chance you will see camera shake when zooming very close in to high-resolution images, for example if you were creating an image for a billboard, but for most users this will not be a problem. If you do fall into that category, it is recommended that you use more advanced tactics for reducing the movement of the shutter and engaging more technical modes.
Once your shutter speed is up, you may need to adjust your f-stop and/or ISO. To aid with this in changing light conditions, you switch to shutter speed mode which allows you to set up your speed and leave everything else on automatic. Remember that your settings are adjusted when you push the trigger, so don’t try focusing early.
You can also reduce camera shake and maintain the depth of field and ISO that you want by adding more light to the shot. If you do this, you can raise your shutter speed without having to compromise on your other settings. The more light you have available, the higher your speed can go. And again, the higher the speed, the less chance there is of seeing camera shake.
Camera shake can happen to the best of us, and it is usually a result of not being prepared or of changeable conditions. It’s always a good idea to regularly check your images during a shoot, by zooming in on your LCD to take in the details. You can’t always tell from the full-sized preview whether the image is perfect, but going in very close will show you if there is any motion blur.
If you see it, just fix it with one of these tips!
What’s your favorite tip for eliminating camera shake? Share in the comments below!