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Published on 02 May 2014 | over 3 years ago

Tips on how to avoid horrible blurry photos including a look at the reasons for camera shake - obvious and not so obvious. Also how to find the right shutter speed to freeze your subject. Altogether a recipe for beautiful sharp images.


This is Tom Greenwood from sydneyportraits.com.au . In this clip we are going to look at why some of your photos might be a bit fuzzy, blurry, not quite sharp.

What we are not talking about is focus. That's something I'll deal with in another video. Here we are talking about two things: camera shake and slow shutter speed, at least shutter speed that is too slow to freeze your subject.

So the concept of camera shake is quite obvious. But there are a number of different reasons for it and therefore ways to avoid it.

The first is to make sure that you're standing and holding the camera correctly. Now this I have already dealt with in another clip so I strongly recommend you take a look at it by clicking on this link here.

So we are standing, holding the camera correctly. But, uh-oh, look at the horrible jabbing, stabbing shutter finger really shaking the camera. And this is the result - a blurred image. So, easily remedied - when you are taking a photo you want to gently squeeze the shutter button just to make sure the camera is really still.

Now for a less obvious reason for camera shake. Here we are using a longish lens - 135 mm. Now let's look at the shutter speed we are using. We are shooting at an 80th of a second.

There's a golden rule related to lenses and shutter speed: always use a shutter speed faster than the length of the lens. So if you're using, say, a 200 mm lens, don't shoot slower than 1/200. This rule only applies to hand-held shooting, not for use with a tripod.

So at 1/80 were not getting very dramatic blur but if we zoom in, we can see the picture's not sharp. So let's adjust the shutter speed to 1/200 and immediately we can see the difference. A nice crisp image.

Now this rule applies to all lenses which is why I've pasted this reminder on my lens.

Moving on from camera shake but still looking at shutter speed. Here we're taking some portraits and the light is quite dim. So we're shooting at 1/60. Now this is a fairly slow shutter speed and if our subject was sitting stock still like a statue that would be fine. But she's not.

When shooting portraits it's often nice to chat with the subject so you get a range of expressions. That means the subject is moving and 1/60 is too slow to freeze those movements.

Let's try twice the shutter speed - 1/125. And again, initially it looks pretty good but if we zoom in we can see that even at this shutter speed it's too slow to freeze her movements.

Now 1/125 is a shutter speed I use quite a lot for portraits but that's really for when the portrait subject isn't moving and in this case she is.

So let's speed it up to 1/200. So if we look at her top we can see it's not actually in focus but, more importantly, if we look at her eyes, at last they're nice and sharp, nice and crisp. So we can feel confident that for this kind of shot - the subject is moving, chatting - 1/200 is probably about right.

I hope you found that helpful. If so, please subscribe and take a look at some of the other clips in the series.

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