Monday, September 8, 2008

Instructor's Tip: Tips for Sharper Images

Enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. The photo(s) in this post were taken by Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured this image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Tips For Sharper Images

Let’s face it, we spend a lot of money on equipment. We purchase sharp lenses and we want our pictures to impart their maximum capabilities. In order to accomplish this, we must refine our picture making methods and techniques. This means proper camera handling, using a tripod as often as possible, using mirror lock up, shooting with proper shutter speed / aperture combinations, and using autofocus sensors properly.

TRIPOD: First and foremost, use a tripod to help ensure you get sharp images as the potential for camera movement during the exposure is significantly reduced as compared to hand holding.

APERTURE / SHUTTER COMBO: Aperture and shutter speed work both independently of each other and also in conjunction to create sharpness. If the action is fast and you want to freeze it, a high shutter speed is necessary. If lots of depth of field is important, you need to use a small aperture.

HAND HOLDING: If for whatever reason you can’t use a tripod, proper hand holding techniques will help you obtain sharp pictures. Use your focusing hand to support the camera and lens to create a firm base to prevent up and down movement of the camera. With your shutter hand, grip the body tightly to prevent left to right movement. Additionally, press the top of the camera against your forehead to further stabilize the system. Right before you press the shutter, inhale, tighten your grip, and gently press down.


To take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Russ' most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

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