10 tips to help you get sharp photos when shooting handheld

Getting sharp photos when shooting handheld is probably the biggest struggle for new photographers – especially if they haven’t figured out how exposure and shutter speed works yet. Even if you know what you’re doing with exposure, though, it can still be a little tricky sometimes. And with as tiny as camera LCDs are, it can be difficult to spot until you get back home and look at them full-screen on your computer.

So, how can you help to guarantee you get sharper photos? Well, photographer James Popsys is here with a bunch of tips to help you figure that out. Not all of them may apply to you – particularly the first one if you don’t drink coffee – but between them, with a little practise, you should be able to start seeing sharper images in no time.

James offers up 10 tips in the video that can all potentially help you. They may not all be needed, but they’re all good tips to follow if you’re trying really hard and still finding yourself shooting blurry photos.

  1. Avoid coffee before you shoot
  2. Eat food, don’t shoot hungry
  3. Use the self timer
  4. Use your electronic shutter
  5. Use stabilised lenses or cameras
  6. Choose a solid, stable stance
  7. Brace the weight of the camera against your body
  8. Shoot when breathing out
  9. Set a minimum shutter speed in your camera to make sure it doesn’t go lower in auto-exposure modes
  10. Wear appropriate footwear!

That last one is kind of a joke based on James’ attire in the video with his cycling shoes that aren’t really designed for walking around with, but it’s one I see a lot shooting out in the wilderness. Think about where you’re going to be shooting and get footwear that’s appropriate for the location. Shoes that can easily slip and slide or sink into the ground (yes, I’ve had models show up to shoots in the wilderness in heels) aren’t going to help you plant your feet firmly on the ground to get a solid stance to hold your camera steady!

As well as the tips James offers, I’d also suggest shooting in short bursts if you can. 3 or 4 images. Even for landscapes sometimes, if you’re really worried. Shooting in a burst of 3 or 4 images will usually help to guarantee at least one, possibly two sharp images, even if your first one isn’t quite as stable as you’d like!

Also, don’t forget to hold your camera properly. This Joe McNally classic and always worth resharing.

What’s your top tip for getting sharp shots when handholding the camera?

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