It’s All in the Hold

Many of our best photographs suffer from camera shakes. While some cameras come with anti-shake warnings that tell you if the picture you’ve taken is blurred or not, a better way to find out is to zoom in at 100 percent and see it for yourself. Now, if the picture is blurred and you think it requires rocket science to bring clarity into it, you are downright wrong. In fact, it’s fairly easy if you’re able to admit that the real reason the picture is blurred is because of camera shake.

Camera shake usually happens if the camera was not held still enough while the shutter was pressed. This is especially common in shots taken in low light situations where the shutter is open for longer periods of time. Adding to camera shake is a technique that is increasingly common with digital camera users when holding the camera at arms length away from them as they take shots, along with only using one hand. Even the smallest movement of the camera can cause a blur and the only real way to eliminate it is to use a tripod.

It is the best way to stop camera shake, because a tripod has three sturdy legs that keep things very still. But, if you don’t have one, another simple way to enhance the stability of the camera is to hold onto it with two hands. While it can be tempting to shoot one handed, two hands will increase your stillness (like three legs on a tripod being better than one). Now, exactly how you should grip your camera will depend upon what type of digital camera you are using. It varies from person to person as well, depending upon preference. There is no real right or wrong way to do it, but here are a few tips that could come in handy:

Tip 1: The Right Grip Makes All the Difference

Use your right hand to grip the right hand end of the camera. Your forefinger should sit lightly above the shutter release, with your other three fingers curling around the front of the camera. Your right thumb grips onto the back of the camera. These days, most cameras have some sort of grip area and some even have impressions to show you where your fingers should go. That way, it feels more natural. Use a strong grip with your right hand, but don’t grip it so tightly that you end up shaking the camera. And remember, squeeze the shutter. Don’t just jab at it, because that could result in more camera shake as well.

Tip 2: Must Be in Line with Your Camera’s Weight

The positioning of your left hand will depend upon your camera, but in general, it should support the weight of the camera. It will either sit underneath the camera or under/around a lens if you have a DSLR.

Tip 3: Don’t Hold Too Far Away From You

If you’re shooting using the view finder to line up your shot, you’ll have the camera nice and close to your body, which will add extra stability. On the other hand, if you’re using the LCD, make sure you don’t hold your camera too far away from you. Tuck your elbows into your sides and lean the camera out a little from your face. Alternatively, use the viewfinder if it’s not too small or difficult to see through (a problem on many point-and-shoot cameras these days).

Tip 4: Look for a Solid Object

Add extra stability by leaning against a solid object, such as a wall or a tree or by sitting or kneeling down. If you have to stand and don’t have anything to lean on for extra support, put your feet shoulder width apart to give yourself a steady stance. The more still you can keep your body, the more still the camera will be.

Tip 5: Take a Deep Breath

Before you take your shot, take a gentle, but deep breath. Hold it and then take the shot and exhale. The other method people use is the exact opposite: exhale and before inhaling again, take the shot. It’s amazing how much a body rises and falls simply by breathing. So, being conscious of it can give you an edge.

Tip 6: It’s All in the Technique

There are, of course, many other techniques for decreasing camera shake that should be used in conjunction with the way you hold it. For example, shutter speed, lenses with image stabilization and of course, tripods can all help in a big way.

Tip 7: Do What Makes You Most Comfortable

Of course, each person will have their own little techniques they are most comfortable with and ultimately, you need to find what works best for you. But, in the early days of familiarizing yourself with your new digital camera, it’s worth considering your technique before trying some of these.

Happy shooting!

~ Zahid H. Javali