Three Ways To Banish Blurry Photos

Blurry Photos.. Blah – I Hate ’em!

They are nemesis of all new and intermediate photographers.

They are disturbing, discouraging, and demoralizing.

Today, we learn what causes blurry photos so we can take steps to banish them forever.. or at least reduce them significantly.

Truth is, even the pros have to deal with blurry photos at times. We never see their mistakes, though, so we think they take great shots every time they press the shutter button. Not so. We only see their good stuff.

Knowledge is king!

Knowing what causes pictures to come out blurry is half the battle. Once you know why, you can take steps to fix the problems.

Here they are – the three ways to banish blurry photos:

  1. Insure there is enough light.
    Blurry photo - not enough light
    Not enough light for this picture. Another blurry photo.

    Photography is about light, pure and simple. The amount and quality of light is what makes a picture.
    Increase the light and you have a better chance at taking a good picture without the blur.There are a couple of ways to improve your light conditions.

    • Move to a different location that has more light. Even a slight increase may make a world of difference.
    • Add light to your current location. This could be as easy as using the pop up flash or turning on a lamp.
    • Change your camera settings. Increasing the Aperture size or the ISO will increase the amount of light reaching the image sensor of your camera. These are two important skills that will be addressed in more detail later.

    It may help to know a general guideline about the relationship between the shutter speed and the camera’s aperture. The shutter speed should be ten times or greater than the aperture to insure a sharp photo.

    For instance, if you are taking a picture with an aperture of f/4.0, the shutter speed should be at least 1/40 of a second. Unless you are shooting in manual mode, one or more of these settings is decided by your camera. So, these numbers are more for evaluating the reason you are getting blurry pictures.

  2. Hone your shutter release technique.
    blurry photo of duck
    Poor shutter button technique resulted in this poor (blurry) photo. I was in too much of a hurry to get the picture before he waddled away.

    Hone means to sharpen.In this case, sharpen your picture taking method.Once you have enough light on your subject, the next reason for blurry photos is poor shutter button skill. This subject is covered in the Photo Tips e-book, so if you have not yet read it, your copy costs you nothing, so  CLICK HERE to get it.

    Basically, there is a right way and a wrong way to take a picture.The WRONG way is to get the subject in your viewfinder and quickly mash the shutter button. This movement jerks the camera and causes something called “camera shake”. Some cameras and lenses compensate a bit for this with technology called IS (image stabilization), but you, the photographer, can eliminate much of the camera shake by using the correct shutter release action.It’s simple. Push the shutter button part-way down and stop. You will hear a short beep. That beep indicates that the camera has focused. You can then squeeze (push) the shutter button the rest of the way to capture the picture… without blur.

    NOT a blurry photo
    Everything worked well in this picture of a park bench.

    Another way to insure no camera shake is to use a tripod or brace the camera against a stable object such as a light pole or a tree.

    Practice this shutter release action until you have it mastered. It will go a long way toward eliminating those dreaded blurry pictures.

  3. Understand the relationship between focal length and camera stability.Focal length has a lot to do with stability. When using shorter, wide angle focal lengths of less than 50mm, it is much easier to keep the camera steady enough for a blur-free picture.Once you increase the focal length, it is more common to have blurry pictures.Think about it. You are trying to get a much smaller portion of space into the same size picture. The least movement on your part will multiply the effect in the camera.When you are using long focal lengths, make sure you have a fast enough shutter speed to get rid of the blur. A good rule of thumb is to have a shutter speed that is equal or greater than your focal length. For instance, when using a focal length of 200mm, a shutter speed of 1/200th seconds should help get sharp pictures, keeping in mind that good shutter button technique is even more important with long focal lengths.

These three tips will help you tremendously toward a higher percentage of “keepers” as you progress toward becoming a better photographer.