Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tips to take A Sharp Photograph

Sharp as a Razor!

We all want to take photographs that have a clean, razor sharp quality to it. But often times we get something that falls a tad short of that (i.e. a blurry mess that like the internal organs of a cricket). Here are a few tips that can be used to improve the sharpness of any photograph.

  1. Tripod - this is the simplest way to improve the quality of a photography for anyone. Using a tripod will reduce any camera shake that handholding will create. Cheap ones can be purchased for $15-20, and the high end ones can be $200-300-400 and more. I do recommend a mid end tripod with with a bit more weight to it to improve stability.
  2. Cable Release or Self-Timer - each time the shutter button is pressed, the camera will have a very slight movement (even on a tripod). Using a cable release/wireless remote for the camera will enure no movement at all happens. If you don't have one, many cameras have a self-timer feature. That will allow you to press the shutter button and your camera will have a few seconds to stabilize. And voila - a sharper image!
  3. Image Stabilization Off - what? Am I insane? Perhaps, but that's another matter. When your camera has IS on (or VR, SR, or whatever your brand calls it), it looks for movement and compensates for it. However, since you have your camera on a tripod and the mirror locked (above), there is no movement. However, your camera doesn't know that. It assumes there will be movement, and thus creates movement to adjust for nothing. Turning off this feature will make for sharper photographs when using a tripod.
  4. Low ISO - many digial cameras have the ability to select the ISO from typcially 100 (sometimes 50) to 1600 or even much higher. Since ISO is the sensor's sensitivity to light, a higher ISO is used in lower light conditions to shoot without a flash. However, higher ISO will also cause more noise in a photograph. To get a very sharp image, the lowest possible ISO needs to be used.
Using these tips will lead to sharper photographs that are sure to please all. However, if you need to hand hold the camera, I recommend you use a "burst" or sports more to take several photos in succession. You increase your chances of having a photograph that is very clear.

Finally, always review your photograph after taking it and zoom in to see the details. If you find the image is not as sharp as you like, you will still be able to take another photograph. If you check when you get home, it will be too late and the picture will be gone!

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