Digital photography has become accessible to all through cameraphones, point and shoots and of course, DSLRs. But there’s one thing most beginners are unaware of: camera shake caused by wrong posture and holding of camera. These tips will tell you how to grip your camera for shake-free images and a better photography experience.

Wrong Way to hold the camera

Right way to hold the camera

Study your camera
With so many cameras on the market and one brand trying to one up the next, there are manufacturers who have understood that providing a sturdy grip makes more sense to beginners and professionals alike. If you are in the market for cameras, go for one that has a good grip. These could be in the form of grooves and thumbnails where you place your fingers or a rough surface, so you grip the camera right and don’t drop it. The best way to judge this is to pick up the camera and hold it in any number of ways to see what works for you. Similarly, if you already have a camera, study it carefully and see what grip works best for your camera that enables steadier images. Most times, we fail to observe such minute details and spoil our photography.

Legging it
Legs play a crucial role, be it your tripod or your own two feet. Holding a digital camera also means getting your body posture right as well. So when you don’t have a tripod, your legs are your best bet. And the way to go? Place them shoulder width apart from each other for a sturdier grip.

Hand it to them
Sometimes, your subjects require both your hands to stabilise your camera. It’s not like you are being lazy when you hold the camera away from your body and try to take the picture using the LCD screen with one hand. It’s just that the camera becomes shakier, the further you move away from your body. Therefore, use both hands to grip your camera and try to view your subject through the viewfinder. This way, your camera is closer to your body, thereby achieving balance.

Placement is key
How you place your fingers now becomes key to some great shake-free pictures boasting of impeccable composition. Most times, not gripping the camera properly leads to bad composition. Here is where how you grip the camera holds the key to your trigger-happy endeavour. Be it a point and shoot or a DSLR, it is best to use both hands to grip the camera. But it’s even more important to lay more emphasis on your right hand (or left, depending upon which hand you use most) and use the left to hold your lens ( it could be underneath your lens or around the lens, in a DSLR). It could be on the opposite side of the grip in a point and shoot.

Wrap around and exhale
Wrap the camera strap around your hand a good few times to keep the camera close and tight to your head. Plus, be aware of your breathing. Shoot while you’re exhaling rather than inhaling, because your body tends to be more still while exhaling. Not as good as leaning on something, but a decent trick in a jam, or with wide to intermediate lenses. However, some find it easier to do it the other way around. So find your sweet spot, and go that route.

Human touch
When all the above tips don’t work, try using your friend’s shoulder as a very flexible and adjustable tripod.

Give it to the tripod
Sometimes, there is nothing like a tripod to stabilise things. Take a medium sized tripod, attach your camera to it, fix it in the position as if you are doing a vertical shot, lock it in place, fold up your tripod with your camera still attached, and hold it in the sniper position (machine gun position) with the tripod over opposite arm. You can also use a monopod. This works best when working 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 time to readjust your tripod.

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

Add more weight
Another way to reduce lens shake is to increase the weight of the camera. So it’s better to use a light-weight camera with a heavy battery grip. Or you can construct additional heavy ballast by connecting a small bag with several stones to the little tripod plate that is attached to your camera beneath. The shape of this plate allows you to hang a ballast.

There’s nothing like the perfect grip. Keep experimenting with it to find what is right for you.

~Zahid H Javali