There are lots of ingredients to making a spectacular photograph, but the most important is for the picture to be in sharp focus.No matter how good the subject, lighting and color, if the picture is blurred it's not much good.
Photographers have somewhat varying opinions on what constitutes a tack sharp picture, but generally, a tack sharp photograph has good, clean lines.The picture will have clear definition, intead of being soft or downright blurred.
There are several things you can do to increase your chances of getting that coveted tack sharp picture.
Hand-Held Digital Photography Tips
If you’re hand-holding your camera, brace your arms against your sides to help steady the camera. If your camera has anti-shake technology such as Vibration Reduction (VR) or Image Stabilization (IS) lens that can be switched on and off, this is the time to have it turned on.
You can also lean against a wall or tree or whatever sturdy object that’s handy, and help keep yourself and your camera steady.You can also keep the camera steady by leaning or laying it on some close by sturdy object.
Steadying your camera by hooking the strap under your elbow and wrapping the rest around your forearm will also help stabilize the camera and hold it steady in your hand.
Getting those tack sharp photos while hand-holding your camera can be difficult, so to increase your chances of getting that perfect shot, use the burst or continuous shooting mode on your camera to take several shots at once.At least one picture should be in sharp focus when you’ve taken a whole series of shots.
Tripods For Better Focus
There’s no getting around the fact that it’s easier to get a tack sharp photo using a tripod. You just can’t hold the camera as steady as a tripod will.A tripod is like other photography equipment, and you get what you pay for.Cheap tripods will help steady the camera, but not as well as a more expensive tripod does.To get the best results, buy the best tripod you can reasonably afford.
The more expensive tripods don’t come with the head attached.It must be bought separately, but that gives you the opportunity to choose what you like best.Buy a good quality ballhead for your tripod. It will keep your camera firmly in place, so yoru picture will stay sharply in focus.
If you’re somewhere that carrying a tripod just won’t work, beanbags make a nice cushion for cameras in these settings.A beanbag can help in positioning the camera to get the right angle on the subject, then hold the camera steady so you get a sharp shot.
To improve your chances of a tack sharp photo even more, use a cable release instead of pressing the shutter.Pressing the shutter may not seem like much movement, but it’s often enough to prevent you getting a tack sharp photo.
If you don’t have a cable release, the self timer will also work. It allows you to press the shutter, while giving the camera time to stabilize before it actually takes the picture.
More Advanced Digital Photography Secrets For Sharp Shots
If you have a digital SLR camera, there are even more ways to make sure your camera stays steady while taking pictures.
The first is to use mirror lock-up.The camera's mirror is locked up during picture taking, and doesn't move until after the picture is taken. That limits the amount of movement inside the camera.The shutter release button on the remote or cable release must be pressed twice to take a picture (surely you aren't pressing the shutter release on your camera after going to all this trouble are you?). The first press lifts the mirror and the second press actually takes the picture.
The second method is to turn off the Vibration Reduction or Image Stabilization. That may sound counter productive, but when you’ve stabilized your camera with a tripod and other methods, the vibration reduction keeps looking for shakes/movements.When there isn't any movement, the vibration reduction can acually cause some shaking while looking for movement.A good rule to follow is to keep these turned off when using a tripod, and only use them when you’re hand-holding the camera.
One last way to increase the sharpness of your pictures is to have good glass.It makes a considerable difference which lens you use. A quality lens with good glass is more expensive of course, but it’s another instance of getting what you pay for.It's an investment in fantastic photography.
Use as many methods as you can to steady your camera, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting those lovely tack sharp photographs.