100 Ways To Create Sharper Images Of Your Everyday Life

100 Ways To Create Sharper Images

Are you happy with the sharpness of your photos? Photographic sharpness is dependent on MANY things coming together from shutter speed to light to how you hold the camera. Here are a few (100 or so) of the things you can focus on to get sharper images that work for your dSLR and some for your phone!

 

Ready Your Camera

 

  1. Grab your manual and familiarize yourself with all of the buttons and dials.
  2. Set your camera to its highest photo quality.
  3. Shoot in RAW.
  4. Shooting JPEG? Adjust your in camera sharpening settings.
  5. Charge your batteries before you shoot. A battery without much life left will slow down your autofocus.

 

Steady Your Camera

 

  1. Use a tripod when it’s practical.
  2. Use a solid surface to rest your camera when a tripod isn’t practical.
  3. Use a remote release when it’s practical. (It’s usually not practical for me, so keep on reading.)
  4. Use your self-timer if you don’t have a remote release.
  5. Using your phone? Use the volume controls to shoot.
  6. For even less phone shake, plug your iPhone headphones in and use the phone switch on your headphones.
  7. Use an app that helps steady your camera like ProCamera or Camera+.
  8. Use mirror-lock up mode for the ultimate in avoiding movement.
  9. Google mirror-lock up.
  10. Use a monopod when a tripod isn’t practical.
  11. Lean against a wall when all else fails.
  12. Lay down on the ground for lots of steadiness.

 

Use Good Form

 

  1. Shoot like a sniper. Yes, I said it. I’ll let you google it!
  2. Position your feet apart a couple of feet to create a firmer base.
  3. Steady yourself against a doorway or other solid surface.
  4. Tuck your arms into your body, steadying them against your chest. TIGHT!
  5. Keep your elbows in.
  6. Press your eye tight against the viewfinder. Unless you are using your phone because that would just look ridiculous!
  7. Get a firm grip with both hands. Okay, one hand will do with your phone, but two hands are always steadier!
  8. Use your left hand to cradle the lens.
  9. Use your right to hold the camera and shoot.
  10. Breathe out and shoot before you take a breath. (Okay, this is a sniper technique. I like to think of it as a yoga technique though!)
  11. Practice yoga to learn to steady and control your breath.
  12. Avoid holding your camera (dslr or phone) at a wonky angle. If it is angled on your eye you’re results won’t be as sharp.
  13. Squatting for your photo? Steady your elbows on your knees.

100 Ways To Create Sharper Images CY365

 

Watch Your Shutter Speed

 

  1. Shoot with a shutter speed fast enough to stop motion, at least 1/125th of a second.
  2. Use a FAST shutter speed for fast moving subjects, between 1/1000 to 1/5000 of a second.
  3. Shoot with a shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake, at least 1/50th of a second with a 50mm lens.
  4. Longer lens? Choose a faster shutter speed.
  5. Shooting kids? Think 1/500th of a second when possible.
  6. Crazy kids? Think 1/1000th of a second.
  7. Know what you can hold. Some people aren’t steady enough to shoot handheld at 1/50th while others can easily shoot at 1/30th of a second.

 

Use The “Right” Aperture

 

  1. Watch your depth of field! Use an aperture narrow enough to get your subject in focus, think f/4.0 or f/5.6.
  2. Avoid the lure of your widest aperture!
  3. When more than one person is in the photo use a narrow aperture, think f/5.6 to f/11.
  4. Find the “sweet spot.” Use an aperture one stop narrower than your widest aperture. If your lens is an f/1.8 choose f/2.5. Think of it as three “clicks” from your widest aperture.
  5. Want to use your widest aperture? Step back from your subject some.
  6. And then step back more.
  7. Avoid recomposing when shooting wide open.

Know Your ISO

  1. Keep your ISO low to get the least noise.
  2. Learn the limit of your particular camera by shooting through your range of ISOs to learn how high you can push it.

 

100 Ways To Create Sharper Images CY365f

 

Look For Light and Location

 

  1. Shoot in good light. The better the light, the easier it is to get a sharp image.
  2. Look for reflected light from a sidewalk.
  3. No sidewalk, find a wall to add light to your scene.
  4. Look for contrast.
  5. Be careful that contrasting colors don’t grab focus from your subject.
  6. Use a reflector to bounce light onto your subject.
  7. Bounce flash off a wall if you don’t have enough light.
  8. No wall? Wear a white shirt and bounce your flash off your shirt.
  9. Make your spouse wear a white shirt and use them to bounce your flash.
  10. Choose a contrasting solid background for your subject. It makes focusing easier.
  11. Shooting outside? Look for open shade of a tree.
  12. Place your subject’s eyes toward the light.
  13. Avoid dappled light. It’s hard to focus and expose, and well, it just looks bad.

100 Ways To Create Sharper Images-2567

 

 

Choose The “Right” Lens

 

  1. Shoot with a prime lens when possible. (Think 50mm, nifty fifty, it’s a bargain!)
  2. No prime? Choose a lens with a shorter range of focal distances for sharper photos.
  3. Clean your lens! The more crud on your lens, the more chance it’s going to show up in your image.
  4. Remove your lens filter. (This is a bit controversial, but you asked for sharper images!)
  5. In contraction to above, use a polarizing filter to reduce haze.
  6. Use your lenses’ vibration reduction (VR on Nikon) or image stabilization (IS on Canon).
  7. Turn vibration reduction off when your camera is on a tripod.
  8. Choose to zoom with your feet, rather than your camera especially if using your phone.
  9. Use this tool to find the sharpest point of any lens
  10. Avoid using digital zoom.

 

Focus-Focus-Focus

 

  1. Avoid letting your camera choose the focal point.
  2. Use your center focal point for the sharpest photos.
  3. Look up single point AF in your camera’s manual.
  4. Opt to change your focus point rather than focus and recompose.
  5. Choose AI Focus or Continuous Focus instead of One Shot.
  6. Learn back button focus. (Also known as Focus Lock or AF-On for Canon/AF-C for Nikon)
  7. Watch your focal distance, leave enough space between the lens and your subject.
  8. Grab the manual that came with your lens to find the lens minimum focus distance.
  9. Keep things in the same visual plane to keep them sharp.
  10. Shooting landscapes? Focus 1/3 into the frame with a smaller aperture (larger f/number).
  11. Google hyperfocal distance.
  12. Position your camera parallel to your subject.
  13. Focus on the subject’s eye closest to you.
  14. Using a phone? Separate your exposure from your focus. Tap on the image to lock your focus.
  15. Use manual focus for low contrast subjects or macro images.
  16. Try your hand at focus stacking.
  17. Google focus stacking. 🙂

100 Ways TO Create Sharper Images

 

Mind The Odds & Ends

 

  1. Shoot more than one photo.
  2. Check your drive mode and bump it to continuous shots!
  3. Roll your finger slowly over the shutter button.
  4. Hold the shutter down on your phone to take a sequence of photos.
  5. Go back to Steady Your Camera to read alternatives to pushing your shutter.
  6. Get your eyes checked! Deteriorating vision will impact how you shoot.
  7. Adjust the diopter to your vision if needed (that little wheel thing by the viewfinder).
  8. Slow down! Sometimes you do everything right but add your own movement to your image as you are moving on to the next thing before you click the shutter.

 

Edit

 

  1. View your photo at full size to check sharpness, your camera’s LCD screen lies!
  2. Add a little sharpening in post processing.
  3. Use unsharp mask in Photoshop.
  4. Start with unsharp settings: Amount 100%, Radius 1, Threshold 5.
  5. Try a sharpening plugin like Noiseware.
  6. Editing on your phone? Try Snapseed for sharpening.
  7. Make sharpening your last editing step.
  8. There you have it! 100 methods for sharper images. Of course, you can always have some fun with a little blur in your images too!

I hope at least a couple of these help you get sharper photos! Comments or questions? Share them in the   comments below.


5 Comments

  1. You are absolutely brilliant! I wish I could at least retain half the information you send out. I will keep working at it. Thank you for giving great lessons and inspirational ideas.

  2. You are awesome! Thank you thank you for these wonderful tips!

  3. Mary L Jones

    Why avoid using digital zoom? You mean on a telephoto lens?

    • It’s referring to point and shoots and phones that use a digital zoom rather than an optical zoom. Digital zoom is enlarging the photo, creating fewer pixels. The telephoto lens on your dslr uses optics to enlarge so you get more data and thus sharpness.

  4. OMG! You can use the volume controls on the iPhone to shoot!? I never knew that!!!!! Makes it a lot easier!.

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