Capturing sharp photos in any situation takes some know-how. Some of you may already be familiar with some of these techniques. For beginners, these might be completely new. Whatever your level of competency, there’s always room for brushing up. Without further ado, here are five secrets to sharp photos from Pierre T. Lambert:
1. Reciprocal Rule
The rule of thumb is that your shutter speed should always be one over the focal length that you’re using. So, if you’re using a 200mm lens, or a lens capable of a longer zoom but set to 200mm for the shot, your shutter speed should be at least 1/200 second.
The longer the focal length, the faster the shutter speed that you need to get a sharp photo. Conversely, the shorter the focal length, the slower the shutter speed needed to get a sharp photo.
Use a shutter speed of 1/125 second when photographing people. An individual might be moving around or laughing or talking while you’re photographing. This fast shutter speed helps to freeze the moment.
For people who are moving a lot bump up the exposure to 1/250 second. You can get away with a shutter speed of 1/50 second when someone is able to stay static.
3. Moving Subjects
For subjects that are genuinely moving—walking or running or jumping—even a 1/250 second shutter speed might not be enough. To get an absolutely sharp shot you may need to start from something like 1/500 second. If someone is walking you can start from 1/320 second If they’re running, start with 1/500 second. And for a jumping subject, start at 1/1000 second. Of course, you’ll have to compromise with the ISO and aperture depending on how fast a shutter speed you end up using.
The best way to get a sharp photo is to use a tripod. Everyone knows that. But you can’t carry a tripod everywhere you go. Sometimes it is simply not feasible.
So how do you shoot a sharp photo when hand holding the camera? Simply tuck your elbows into your body and control your breathing before pressing the shutter release, much like a sharpshooter does before squeezing the trigger.
Of course, image stabilization also helps. And some people have steadier hands than others.
5. ISO Auto Minimum Shutter Speed
Some cameras come with a special mode known as ISO Auto Minimum Shutter Speed (check the screengrab below).
This mode basically tells the camera that whatever happens, it shouldn’t set a shutter speed below the threshold limit that you have set. That can be 1/500, 1/250 or even 1/100 second. Normally, when shooting in Auto mode or in the Aperture Priority mode, the camera automatically sets the shutter speed. Switching this on and setting a threshold limit will allow the camera to adjust other settings to balance the exposure without pushing the shutter speed too low.
What other tips do you have to help with getting sharper photos?
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