Tech Blog

@FuturePics Photo Tip of the Week - Stay stable to beat blur

by Blogger on ‎03-31-2012 02:40 PM - last edited on ‎04-27-2012 09:15 AM by Retired Moderator

futurepics_blur_sucks.jpg

Capturing a great moment can be ruined by blur from a shaky camera. Courtesy of @FuturePics, here's a quick way to stop the shakes!

 

Blur is the bane of great photographs; it’s the one of those things that you can’t clean up easily (if at all) in an image editor, and it seems to pop up in whole lot of different situations. Blur happens for a few reasons, which get quite technical. Instead of getting into the nitty gritty, we’re going to look at one way to stop blur today: getting stable while on the go.

 

blur_arms_out.jpgIf you’re rockin’ a point and shoot camera you probably aren’t toting a tripod with you, so how can you be more stable? Think about how you’re probably using your camera or smartphone right now: with an LCD on the back, you’re probably holding the device out at arm’s length, looking at the screen.

 

The problem is, no matter how often you’re doing curls in the squat rack at the gym, your arms are inherently going to move ever so slightly. Even your breathing will shift the camera–that means that if it’s not bright enough, or if you’re zoomed in, that shake will be magnified, giving you a sad, soft, blurry image. 

 

Today’s tip: it’s all about where you put your elbows. There are two ways to deal with them that will make your shots solid, beating blur for good.

 

blur_arms_in.jpg

 

  1. 1) Find a place to put your elbows down! If there’s a ledge or flat surface you can put your elbows down on, you’re creating a stable base, and reducing camera shake.
  2. 2) Be your own tripod! Spread your feet shoulder width apart, and tuck your elbows into your ribs and form a stable base out of your own body. If your camera has a viewfinder, use that instead of using the LCD; the third point of contact makes your frame even more stable. If you don’t have a viewfinder, bring the camera as close to your face as possible.

 

The darker it is or the more zoomed in you are, the more stable you need to be. Keep that in mind when you’re trying to frame and take your shot: get stable, and you can say goodbye to (some causes of) blur!

 

Want more photo tips? Follow @FuturePics on Twitter

Comments
by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador ‎04-01-2012 12:57 AM - edited ‎04-01-2012 10:40 PM

Yes, the secret for sharp photos is a steady support.  I’ll add...


I agree with using the view finder.  It brings the camera closest to your body’s center of gravity. Newer cameras have dropped the viewfinder for a larger LCD.  Here’s some additional poses I discovered helpful for steady images (ie crouch down and put your elbows to your knees if there are no walls)…  
  http://www.petapixel.com/2012/02/22/shoot-sharper-handheld-photos-by-using-marksmanship-techniques/

 

Additional tips
•    increase the light with a flash... I like the SB-910 for power.
        http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/nikon-nikon-speedlight-flash-sb-910-sb-910-speedlight/1018978...
•    experiment with f/8 to f/11 if there is lots of light and/or you are using a tripod.  It was like buying a new lens for me when I used this technique.  This is the camera’s mountain or landscape setting if you have a camera with scene modes
•    otherwise switch to f/2.8 or faster lenses that allow for more light
•    increase your ISO to shorten the exposure for camera shake
•    ensure your VR or image stabilization is enabled.  At high zooms, consider Nikon/Canon in-lens stabilization.  Sensor stabilization designs are inadequate in telephoto  situations.
•    try rolling the shutter release instead of “jerking” it
•    some cameras have a delayed shutter so the mirror slap does not add to the vibrations
•    some will tie a string to the base of the camera and use a washer to provide additional stabilization
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLlJl7TbXTA
•    some travellors love bean bags supports, I found table top mini tripods to be a good alternative
        http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/optex-optex-table-top-mini-tripod-t130-black-t130/10185050.as...

 

         http://soldiersystems.net/blog1/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/BushHawk.jpg


For tripods
•    remember to DISABLE the stabilization.  The stabilization detector may introduce vibrations.
•    Consider using a remote shutter release or the camera’s timer (set it for 2 second delay) so you are not touching the camera when the picture is taken
•    look at the load weight of your tripod if you have a DSLR.  Cheap tripods collapse too easily
•    consider a carbon-fibre tripod.  The few extra pound savings will mean the tripod will leave the house more often.  Especially on public transit.
        http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/sirui-sirui-carbon-fiber-tripod-t-1204x-black-t-1204x/1016416...
•    if you plan to take a lot portrait pictures or with the DSLR camera on it’s side.  Consider an L-bracket or a Rotational bracket to keep the tripod centered and avoid tip overs
         http://digital-photography-school.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/tripod-brackets.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu1wNZSAFio
•    are you taking pictures of birds with a zoom lens?  Consider a gimbal mount to track birds more easily
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoPn3C4gw64
•    doing dslr videos?  Stick a track between two tripods for more creativity!
        http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v2/113369452/Proaim_3_Feet_Micro_Dolly_Slider_For.jpg


by Trusted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-01-2012 08:36 PM

That picture of the dude with the Baby Bjorn is hilarious.

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-01-2012 11:33 PM

Many of us start with a basic camera.  But to achieve that perfect photo, it's amazing what consumers and professionals will use to get that picture.  The devices do work.

 

I can't afford a cotton carrier, but many have mistaken my Lowepro Top loader camera case harness for an infant carrier.  Note, these harness devices may not be suitable for women.

  http://www.letsgodigital.org/images/artikelen/29/lowepro-camera_bags.jpg

 

 

© 2011 Future Shop. All rights reserved. For personal, noncommercial use.