One important component of photography is getting crisp, sharp images. If you’re new to DSLR photography, you may be struggling with focus. It’s especially frustrating to go out shooting for a day assuming you’ve taken nice, clear, sharp images, only to go home and find that they’re blurry and out of focus.
Fortunately, there are more than a few ways to improve your chances of getting sharper images. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Fact: cameras are sensitive. Something as simple as a slight bump can cause your images to be soft. Luckily, this problem can be easily fixed with a remote release.
Remote releases are available in two forms – wireless and wired. Generally, wireless remote releases tend to be more expensive, but are more effective than wired remote releases.
Wired remote releases have to be connected to the camera; therefore, any movement of the cable will transfer to the camera and soften the image. Wireless remote releases, however, usually work via infrared light. The downside of this, though, is that it makes them difficult to use in bright sunlight.
While the camera itself is easily unfocused, sometimes it’s the subject that causes the image to be blurred. If you’re shooting subject in action, then the shutter speed must be fast enough to freeze the movement.
Usually, a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. or 1/125 sec. is fast enough to freeze a walking person.
If you’re photographing sports, like hockey or football, a shutter speed of 1/500 sec. is often fast enough to freeze a player’s body.
While it’s recommended to avoid raising the sensitivity setting while shooting still life subjects and landscape shots, it’s often essential when photographing action and sports shots.
A large aperture (f/2.0; f/2.8, etc.) allows more light into the camera shutter for exposure, while a small aperture (f/11; f/16; f/22, etc.) has a smaller opening in the lens diaphragm to let in less light for a given exposure.
While a small aperture increases the depth of field, it also increases the impact of diffraction, or the bending of light as it passes over the edge of the aperture blades.
Bending the light in this way prevents the light from focusing on the sensor, thus softening the image. The smaller the aperture, the greater the amount of unfocused light reaching the sensor.
To better understand how aperture size influences the sharpness of your lens, set the camera on a tripod while focusing on an object that has a lot of detail. Then, take a photo at each aperture setting available.
When you’ve finished transferring the images to the computer and have examined each shot, pay special attention to the point of focus: you’ll be able to see that the images get softer as the aperture closes.
Vibrations, movement, and aperture settings are the most common variables influencing the sharpness of a photo. Whether it’s the camera hardware or the subject matter, understanding how to control these factors will yield clearer images.