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How to Guarantee Sharp Photographs!

By Dan Davenport

Japan Temple

Sometimes photos don't come out as sharp as we would like. Sometimes the camera doesn't focus right, but most likely, the culprit is camera shake - when you move your hands during the time the camera is taking the picture.

There are several ways to take sharp pictures, a tripod - which is not always very convenient...

Photographer using Chest Poda table top tripod used as a chest-pod (see related article), which is certainly an improvement...

Or just holding the camera better to insure a steady, unshaking platform for your photography. Of course, some cameras today have an anti-shake feature that helps, but this usually only works in lower lighting situations. For normal daylight shots, this technique will get you the sharp photographs that you want.

How do you hold your camera to get the sharpest photos?

Hand preparatory to holding cameraIt starts with the left hand. Hold your left hand with the palm up and fingers pointing away from you.

Hand and CameraThen lay the camera in your palm. When your elbow is pressed against your side, your left hand, your forearm, and your elbow form a solid stable base for your photographs.

Camera Properly positioned in left handYour fingers will curl naturally around the lens to create an unshakeable platform. And if your camera has a manual zoom, your fingers will be right there to adjust the zoom to just the composition that you want.

Camera properly held in two handsNext, firmly wrap the fingers of your right hand around the camera body with your index finger ready on the shutter release.

Camera properly held in two handsFrom this position also, your thumb will fall conveniently on the zoom control if your camera has a motorized zoom. And some of the other controls that might be used during photography will also be there, "under your thumb."

Carefully compose your photo in the viewfinder, zooming to just the right composition, then just as carefully, squeeze the shutter release - don't jerk it. This will get you the sharp photos that will make the large blowups that you want to hang on the wall.

Incorrect way to hold camera for vertical photosThe strangest part is taking vertical photos. From the basic position, most people raise their right arm high to switch the camera to vertical. With your left arm waving around in the air, you lose a great deal of the support that you gain from the left hand.

Proper way to hold camera for vertical photosInstead, for vertical shots, LOWER your right arm so that BOTH arms are now under the camera ... even more support. You will probably find it convenient to release the shutter with your thumb instead of your index finger, but the principle is the same... carefully squeeze the shutter release, don't jerk it.

This technique will get you the sharpest photos you can get without resorting to a tripod. But don't take the tripod out of your gadget bag. There are always times when you do can use it, and you will get sharper photos when you do.

And what do you do with your new sharp photos? How about a REALLY LARGE PRINT from our partners to proudly display.


And talk about unique.... our partner Cafe Press has been, for years, one of the great places to get your pictures and ideas onto tee shirts, mugs, calendars - all sorts of stuff. Check it out!!!

Buy Autism Tshirts and gear and a portion will be donated to Autism Speaks. Code: SPEAK

Dan Davenport has been involved in photography for more years than he cares to think about. He worked for Minolta Cameras for over 30 years and taught photography as well as developing the Minolta School of Photography which evolved into The Maxxum Experience photo education seminars. He wants photographers to take the best photos they can and encourages them to proudly display their work for all to see.

© Dan Davenport, 2008

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