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Avoiding Camera Shake

Sunday, January 25th, 2009 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography
 
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Do you have trouble with your camera shaking when you’re taking pictures? Well, never fear, because I’m here to help! Simply follow the six options below for avoiding camera shake and in no time at all, you’ll be taking crisp images like a pro. Let’s check them out!

Pods

You can create your own tripod by resting your elbow on your knee when you’re in a seated position. You can also bring your other elbow in for even more support. Or, you could try using a cam pod when a tripod seems awkward or cumbersome to use.

Beanbags

Simply get a beanbag and put your camera on it. Beanbags are especially handy when you’re doing street photography and traveling light. They really can be used in several different ways when you’re trying to avoid camera shake.

Burst Mode

Another technique is to shoot in burst mode and take three to eight shots. That increases the chance of getting a stable shot that looks nice as well.

Wrap Around and Exhale

Wrap the camera strap around your hand a few times to keep the camera close and tight to your head. Also, be aware of your breathing. It’s best to shoot while you’re exhaling rather than inhaling, because your body tends to be more still when exhaling.

Get the Hold Right

Take a medium sized tripod, attach your camera to it, fix it in the position as if you’re taking a vertical shot, lock it in place, fold up your tripod with your camera still attached and hold it in the sniper position with the tripod over your opposite arm. You can also use a monopod to do this. It works best when working on steady shots that require you to move around a lot. Sometimes just setting up a tripod doesn’t work, because when you need to move, there isn’t much time to readjust your tripod.

Shutter Speed

Go faster! Set your camera to A/TV and crank it to double the focal length. For example, if you’re shooting with a 100mm lens, set your shutter speed to 1/250 and use your exposure compensation if it’s darker than you’d like. You can also shoot in RAW/NEF mode and non-destructively adjust the exposure.

Body Language

Holding your elbows firmly against your sides, taking a shoulder-width stance and holding the viewfinder right up against your eye is a good way to steady the camera.

Human Touch

You can always use your friend’s shoulder as a very flexible and adjustable tripod.

Cradle It

You could create a cradle for the lens between your shoulder and your wrist. You could stabilize the hold by balancing your elbow on your knee. By holding the body of the camera with your right hand and gripping the lens firmly with your left, you can take clear photos at 1/25, with a 50mm lens on a 1.6 crop body.

Lie Down

If the previous tip doesn’t work for you, lie down on the ground, holding your breath or leaning up against a tree. You could lie flat and let the lens sit directly on the ground or place your hand flat against the ground and balance the lens on top of it to give yourself some height.

The Death Grip

This involves hand-holding the camera with the strap wrapped around your arm just above the elbow. Then you wrap it around the outside of your wrist and pull it tight. The bottom line though is that it’s very effective regardless of which lens you’re using.

Add More Weight

Another way to reduce camera shake is to increase the weight of the camera. So, it’s better to use a light weight camera with a heavy battery grip.

Experiment

Keep experimenting with your grip. One grip that works decently is to hold the grip of the camera in your fist, like a roll of quarters, and trigger it with your thumb. That has the effect of letting you get good pressure on the grip. The pressure is good as it has the effect of locking the wrist and stabilizing your joints.

And Finally…

If none of those methods work for you, try this simple one. Put your camera on a steady surface, such as a table. Lean yourself against a wall and get closer to your subject. The less you have to zoom, the less your lens will shake. Have a small tripod attached to the camera. Even pressing that against your stomach or chest will stabilize the camera nicely. Some find it’s more effective to train themselves to breathe slower as well. Jogging, swimming, cycling, yoga and other kinds of aerobic exercises should be able to help you breathe slower. You also need to remember your body language. Dig your arms in, stand with your feet apart and exhale before clicking. Happy shooting!

~ Zahid H. Javali

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