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Ever looked at the images of other photographers and noticed they are sharper than yours? Wondering how is that possible yet you did everything right? Worry no more because this piece has everything you need to know to improve the sharpness of your photos.
Let’s start with the possible reasons why your images aren’t sharp. There are many possible reasons why you are always lamenting about the sharpness of your photos. Below, we have listed all those possible reasons:
- The subject is moving. Images can appear blurry when the subject is moving, and the shutter speed is too slow.
- Too much noise, especially when the ISO is too high
- Camera shaking when shooting. Maybe because of a windy condition, not using a tripod or your hands are shaky.
- Bad focusing. When you are too close to the subject and when having your focus point in the wrong area of the image can result in bad focusing.
- Being too quick on the trigger and capturing before the lenses focus.
- Having a depth that is too shallow for the subject to be sharp and nice
These are some of the reasons why the sharpness of your photos is always hurt. Fortunately, there are several ways to address sharpness problems. Below we have wrapped up the best solutions. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.
Use a good tripod for your camera
Want to reduce blurriness in your images? Then make sure always to carry a tripod. Never depend on your body for support when capturing images. This is because as much as you try to remain calm, your body will always move hence hurting your effort to shoot sharp images.
For the best experience when using a tripod, consider doing the following:
- If it has metal spikes on its feet, use them for additional support.
- If it has a center column hook, hang your backpack or camera bag from it to anchor the tripod
- Use a camera remote so that you don’t have to touch the camera to fire the shutter.
- Detach your camera strap to prevent it from flapping in the wind.
Hold your camera well
Not all the time a tripod will be within reach. If not withing reach, it is best to learn how to hold your camera in such a way that you can shoot sharp images. This means you must learn to use both of your hands to support your camera. The best practice is one hand to firmly grasp the camera grip and the other underneath the camera and lens to lend it additional support.
Use image stabilization
A camera with images stabilization comes in handy when you hold it well. While image stabilization will not eliminate blurry images, it will go a long way into making a great difference in the level of sharpness of your photos. Luckily, today most cameras and lenses come with an image stabilization feature.
Check your exposure settings
We mentioned earlier that ISO, shutter speed, and aperture settings could affect the sharpness of your images.
Greater ISO results in digital noise. You can solve this by reducing your ISO from, say, 400 to 100. Note that the lower the ISO, the lower the shutter speed and the larger the aperture you will have to use.
In case of shutter speed, consider using faster shutter speed to reduce the blurriness of the subject. Keep in mind that the faster the shutter speed, the larger your ISO or aperture will be.
When it comes to aperture, if the depth of field is too shallow, you may find that your subject is not sharp, consider using a small aperture. Note that using a smaller aperture restricts the amount of light entering your lens.
The bottom line: The best approach is prioritizing in one of the settings. For example, if blurriness due to motion is a major concern, prioritize shutter speed first, and make necessary adjustments to aperture and ISO.
Work on focusing
While most cameras today have excellent autofocus systems that work well, sometimes they can fail, forcing you to adjust the focus manually. If you have to adjust the focus yourself, do that when taking a shot. Here is what you do:
Using the live view, zoom in on your subject and see if it is sharp. If it is, you are good to go. If not, you have to keep on adjusting to obtain the right focus.
The easiest way to obtain the right focus is by placing the autofocus point on your subject and depressing the shutter button halfway. That locks the focus in place.
Then, recompose the shot, press the shutter button all the way down, and the resulting image will have the focus on the spot you previously chose.
For more information on manual focusing, watch this video.
Clean your gear
Have a habit of keeping your gear clean all the time. A lens that is caked with fingerprints or dust will only make your efforts of capturing sharp images an uphill task.
Work in your lens’s sweet spot
Every lens in the market has a range of aperture that render the sharpest photos. Knowing the sweet spot of your lenses will go a long way in improving the sharpness of your photos. For example, if you find shooting portrait at /2 the image is still not sharp, step down the aperture to say, f/4. You can also step up a small aperture when shooting landscape.
Get a better lens
The quality of your lens will, in one way or the other, impact the sharpness of the photo you capture. For the best experience, consider budgeting for a prime lens as they built for improved sharpness. Fortunately, you can get a good lens without breaking the bank.