How To Avoid Camera Shake

January 8, 2010

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Have you ever taken a photograph and when you look at it later wonder why it didn’t look quite right? It was not completely out of focus, just not crisp and clear like others you have seen.

Camera shake is one of the most common problems many new photographers experience. The usual cause of this problem is the camera was not held still enough while the shutter release was depressed.

This is particularly common in low light conditions when the shutter remains open longer. The smallest movement of the camera can cause your images to blur, and the only way to control it is to learn how to properly hold your camera.

Click On Image To Enlarge

Wrong Camera Technique

Today many people have these small pocket cameras called “point-and-shoot” cameras, and very often hold them at arms length to take the photo, many times using only one hand as you can see in the picture to the left.

Here you can see the photographer is holding the camera with one hand, arm stretched out away from her body, and this technique is sure to result in the dreaded “camera shake”. It could be avoided by using both hands, holding the elbows close to her body and exhaling just prior to depressing the shutter button.

Next, let’s look at what camera shake really looks like. To do this look at the photograph on the left below. This photo is blurry, and detail is hard to see. On the right is the same photo without camera shake, and you can clearly see the image and all of the details.

Camera Shake

Camera Shake

Without Camera Shake

Without Camera Shake

Ok, so now that we know what camera shake is, and what it looks like, how can we prevent it?

There are several techniques you can use to prevent the problem, and here are some methods to avoid the problem.

Click To Enlarge The Image

The Proper Technique For Holding A Camera

First, when you are taking your pictures pull your elbows in close to your body. Use one hand to cradle the lens of the camera, and the other to grip the camera. As you grip the camera place your thumb on the back of the camera, curl your fingers around the grip, and position your index finger just above the shutter release button.

On the right you can see a great example of what I mean. She has her elbows tucked in close to her side, and she is cradling the lens with her left hand. This technique will give you the greatest amount of stability, and is one of the surest ways to avoid camera shake.

Depending on whether you are right handed or left handed, lift the opposite shoulder and brace your elbow into your rib cage. For more stability you can pull the opposite shoulder into your chest.

Use Your Knees For A Tripod

Use Your Knees For A Tripod

Another technique you can use is to get low to the ground and use your knees to form a tripod of sorts. An even better technique would be to sit on the ground, giving your self even more stability.

The idea here is to use your body and your surroundings to provide the most solid, stable platform possible when taking photos. The more stable platform and method of holding the camera, the less likely your photographs will be bitten by that nasty old camera shake.

On The Ground

On The Ground

Finally, the last technique is to lay on the ground, keep your elbows close together, again cradle the lens with your hand and hold the camera properly. An example of this can be seen here on the right.

These are some of the methods I use to avoid camera shake. Remember, if the camera is unstable it can ruin otherwise perfectly fine images.

So for now, take lots of pictures, particularly of your children, learn and enjoy!


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2 Responses to “How To Avoid Camera Shake”

  1. The Cannon SD1200 IS - A Great Starter Digital Camera | Real Kids Photography on January 9th, 2010 4:25 am

    [...] of the LCD space. Today most people use the LCD for framing shots, but anyone who has experienced camera shake knows an optical viewfinder can really [...]

  2. Light - The Basis For All Child Photography | Real Kids Photography on January 11th, 2010 6:48 am

    [...] AdSense by UnrealOK, now that we have discussed how to hold your camera and why it is important (camera shake), we can now move on to the most important thing you need to consider when taking photos of [...]

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