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Friday, July 2, 2010

How to carry your camera to avoid camera shake

One of the dilemmas a photographer is fronted with is taking prize winning shots of momentous events and end up blurry images due to camera shake -- usually this happens when camera was not held still enough when the shutter was pressed especially during fast events. This is also common when shots are taken in low light situations where the shutter speed is slow to capture more light. Even the smallest movement of camera will cause soft blurry photo and the only way to eliminate such problem is to have your tripod ready.

Tripods are the best way to stop camera shake because it keeps the camera very still while pressing the shutter. However in cases when you do not have your tripod with you in a very special occasion, what is the best thing to do to avoid camera shake?

How should one carry the camera the right way to enhance stability of the camera?

While it is best to hold the camera with two hands rather than one hand to increase stillness, proper grip and foot stance are also important to observe. How one should grip the camera actually depends upon the type/design of the digital camera and it may vary from person to person. There is no stead and fast rule as to really how to hold the camera. Nonetheless, I have listed here few techniques that you may apply to avoid camera shake:

1. Use your right hand to grip the right hand end of the camera. Your forefinger should sit lightly above the shutter release, your other three fingers curling around the front of the camera following the contour of the design (most DSLR and compact cameras have some sort of impressions where your fingers should go naturally). Your right thumb grips on the lower back of the camera. . Don’t grip the camera so tightly that you end up shaking the camera. Gripping a camera in this way will allow you flexibility of being able to line up shots quickly but will also help you to hold still for the crucial moment of your shutter being open.

2. Position your left hand either underneath the camera (for compact cameras) or around the lens (for DSLR) to further support the weight of the camera.
3. Take the camera closer to the body so you can compose your shot using the viewfinder. With this it provides extra stability . But if you use the LCD to line up your shot (true to compact cameras) do not hold the camera too far away from you. The farther the camera the higher the tendency for the camera to sway. Instead, tuck your elbows into your sides and lean the camera out a little from your face (around 30cm).
4. To Add extra stability, lean against a stable fixed object like a wall or a tree or sit or kneel down on the floor. If you cannot find any solid object or kneeling would not be possible, put your feet shoulder width apart to give yourself a steady stance. The more still your body can keep, the more still the camera will be.
5. Before you fully press the shutter, take a gentle but deep breath, hold it, then take the shot and exhale. The other method people use is the exact opposite – exhale and before inhaling again take the shot. Breathing cause your body to move and it adds up camera movement. Being conscious of this technique can give you an edge.

There are of course many other techniques for decreasing camera shake that should be used in conjunction with the way you hold it. Shutter speed, lenses with image stabilization and of course tripods can all help – we’ll cover these and more in future posts.

This blog is originally posted in Latestcamera.


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