One of the first thing a camera owner should learn to master is holding a camera, yet it is amazing how many people getting this wrong, and subsequently wonder why their photo’s is all blurry. More than one factor goes into reducing camera shakes, and they should be applied together with how your hold your camera. Shutter speeds vs lens focal length, image stabilization and of course manual stabilization like poles and tripods can all help do take these into considerations as well.
This post will focus on “holding your baby” in a way that will help eliminate shakes, it’s back to the basic and not rocket science “HOLD YOUR CAMERA PROPERLY”. When I started on photography, it quickly dawned on me that I have been through this before back in my younger days. Learning how to shoot a rifle also comes down to increase stability while aiming and it is just as applicable when shooting your camera (This will be a great argument for our gun nutty friends over there : )).
Face it; your elbows are the problem. You need good a contact point. The camera is heavy and if your arms aren’t supported, they cannot hold it steadily.
- When Standing, try to hold your hand steady, and observe it, I am sure you will realize holding it steady without jitters is not your body’s strong point. I often seek support of steady object like walls, fences, and if that’s not possible, I bracing my left elbow into my rib-cage body and at the same time raising my left shoulder slightly. Pulling your right elbow in to your chest can add even more stability. Be sure to press the viewfinder firmly against your face. I try to make the camera to have contact with part of my cheek; this makes up for yet a contact point. Now exhale half before depressing the shutter to avoid introducing any shake.
- When kneeling or sitting, shift your elbow slightly back, letting it rest on the meatier part of your leg. This will allow for a much more solid contact point, than you would achieve placing your elbow on the knee where joint-to-joint gives negative impact in form of room for movement. What you want to achieve here is using your knees as a tripod.
- Lying down is perhaps the best way to avoid shakes when shooting without a tripod, but mentally it also the most difficult one. I always feel very odd assuming this position with my camera. However there is good reasons why this is a good position, besides avoiding movement of your camera, is the position also offering a pretty good perspective, especially in situations where you shoot photos of playing children. Lie flat and let the lens sit directly on the ground. Pay attention to downward tilt of the lens, or you will end up shooting the pavement.
Indications that you need to pay attention to your stability
- If you do not have any sharp points in your image, make sure you look closely; it is easy to mix this condition up with poor focusing.
- If you see a ghost exposure of the same image. This is most noticeable at the edges of your motive.
- Motion Blur, is sometimes desirable, and not when you are photographing steady objects. If your motive looks like it is moving then it is time to seek more stability.
You can find more inspiration on Cheat Sheet: How to Hold a Camera