From Online Photography School

15 Ways to Eliminate Camera Shake

Camera Shake, a leading cause of bad photos
Camera shake is like the gingivitis of photography. When you’re dealing with camera shake you’re dealing with images that are not in focus or are totally blurry. Most often with images that suffer from Camera Shake the image is just slightly out of focus.

Example of camera shake:

(photo by itchys)

Notice how the image is just barely out of focus but it’s far enough out to ruin the image. The horror!

Why does camera shake happen?
When you take a photo there is a moment when the shutter is open and light hits your camera’s sensor or film. If the shutter is open for a long time and you move your camera while it’s open you will most likely get a blurry photo. While the shutter is open and you are holding the camera tiny movements in your hands and arms will make your image slightly blurry. In photography the shutter is very very fast so a long time in this context could even be less than a second.

There are a whole host of ways to avoid camera shake. Here are a few:

Shutter Speed
One method would be to shoot at a faster shutter speed. In some cases to achieve these higher shutter speeds you will have to shoot higher ISOs

Shoot at Higher ISOs
Obviously the side effect of this is that you’ll get more noise and grain in your image but I’ll take a noisy image that’s in focus over a blurry image any day of the week.

Use a Better Lens
Another option would be to shoot with a faster lens. If you shoot with a better lens you can get away with more. So if all things are equal you can capture more light with a better lens. As such you’ll have less camera shake.

Get a Better Camera
A camera with a high quality imaging sensor can almost always shoot sharper images in lower light. Before anything else gets written here I should note that ‘getting a better camera’ should almost NEVER be a solution to a problem in photography. I just needed something to fill out this list! In all seriousness though a better camera will help in this situation so get yourself a better camera.

Use A Tripod!
The most obvious solution is to just use a damn tripod! As a general rule you almost always get sharper images when you use a tripod. The tripod is a stable platform for your camera and it does not move and it will eliminate camera shake. Don’t have a tripod? Go buy a tripod.

Hold The Camera Steadier
When you don’t have a tripod or can’t use one just take a moment and control your breathing and concentrate on being still. Take a deep breath or two. Compose yourself if you will.

Make a Tripod
You don’t have to carry around your bulky tripod. You can just make your own tripod out of string!

Hold the Barrel
Support your camera by holding the barrel of your lens and putting your elbow on something like your knee or something solid.

Bring Your Elbows In
Bring your elbows in and rest them on your stomach/chest. That way you’ll be making a tripod between your two hands and your eye pressed against the viewfinder.

Make it Art!
Just like most artefacts and technical screw ups in photography you can make it into an art form. People have taken this artifact of photography and produced some very interesting images. It’s like the rule of thirds, you should really learn it before you start to break it as a rule.

Examples of camera shake (or motion blur) being used creatively:


photo by unukorno


photo by ninette_luz

To learn how to use motion and the blur effect creatively take a look at our article: How To Show Motion in Photography By Panning

Put Your Camera on a Stable Surface
You can really get away with anything that is stable and doesn’t move. Just be careful because cameras have been known to fall of things you might have thought we’re stable.

Lean On Me. And I’ll be your friend
Just like Bill Withers suggests, just lean on something. If there is a post or a tree or something right at the position you want to shoot from then lean on it. This essentially removes a great deal of the movement that is occurring in your body all the time

Get closer
Geting closer to your subject means you won’t have to zoom as much. The less you have to use your zoom, the less your lens will shake.

Stop Drop and Shoot!
If you can lie on the ground. The all but eliminates the movement of your body and will result in sharper images.

A Simple Rule
As a really rough mental guideline ensure that your shutter speed is never slower than half the focal lenght of your zoom lens. So if you’re shooting with a 300mm lens you don’t really want your shutter speed to drop below 150/sec. This is an very very rough tool but it helps you keep camera shake in mind.

Now get out there and shoot some razor sharp images.

What Is The Best Way To Learn Photography?

Let’s set the record straight.
There is no best way to learn photography. There are plenty of ways to learn photography and there really is no perfect answer this question. Everyone has their own learning style, as such there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Some people teach themselves, others benefit greatly from a formal education. Others choose to get best of both worlds by learning photography online and teaching themselves.

List of Ways To Learn Photography:

The list could go on and on. The main thing is that nobody can tell you what is best for you!

What you should really be asking:
If you want to learn photography, ask yourself what is the most fun you’ve had learning something? And then try to replicate that. When something is fun people tend to learn quickly. Also as yourself what format do you prefer when learning? Some people prefer the written word and others are more visual. Then choose your method(s) accordingly. A hybrid approach is really great. Just combine a few theoretical and practical approaches and you’ll be all set.

Essential To Learning Photography:
This really applies to anything you want to get good at but it really works with photography.

  • Have fun
  • Practice hard

Without the hard work of practice and the fun of learning you won’t get anywhere.

Photography is a Life-long Journey:
One of the most fascinating aspects of photography is that you really never stop learning. Not only does the art form evolve over time but you get older and you attain a different perspective. Your early photos will be embarrassingly bad but they may be more interesting in a different context. What’s more, the technology of photography changes regularly as well. There is always something new to learn! How great is that?!

Your first 10 000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

What are you waiting for? Get started learning photography now. The sooner you start the better! When you enroll in this course you can start learning right. There is no waiting!

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Getting Your Photography Education Online

Photography is an artform like many others. Just like painting, photography requires both a strong technical understanding of the craft as well as a unique creative approach.

Too often new photographers approach photography in a haphazard manner without first acquiring a strong technical understanding of the craft on which later they will be able to hang their creative ideas off of. It`s this technical knowledge which turns photographs from mediocre to great. Knowing how to control light, what to look for in a color palette, how to approach the weight of a scene, how to effectively create a mood, how to control the manual controls of your camera and how to approach an environment to find the strongest possible composition are technical elements that need to be taught to be understood properly.

The Icon Photography School allows photographers the opportunity to get their photography education online in our intensive photography course.

At the Icon Photography School we also focus on our students outcome. We want you to be able to build your resume so we offer both a course completion certificate as well as the opportunity to be published in an well known online magazine.

All of these feature together will help you not only help you develop a deep understanding of the craft of photography but will also help you build your photography resume.

To learn more about the course curriculum and how our online education system works please visit our photography course outline page.

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Get 1 Photograph Published

The Icon Photography School has a partnership with a popular online art photography magazine.

Each of our students is given an opportunity to have their work published in the magazine at the end of the course (Just before they complete their final exams).

If you’re interested in both learning more about photography and having your photographs published in a popular magazine then you might want to consider signing up for our online photography course here.

Photo by xjrlokix

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Photography Crash Course

Icon Photography School provides an opportunity for photographers to get an online photography education for a small fraction of the price that other photography courses charge. We offer a comprehensive course that covers all of the aspects of photography from idea conceptualization and color control to composition and lighting.

Best of all, we offer 1 on 1 support through our student HUB where our students interact with one another and our teachers provide feedback on student assignments.

There are no timelines or deadlines for the assignments, which makes our course great for individuals with busy schedules. You can take as long as you like to finish the course or move as quickly through the assignments as you like. Generally speaking, most of our students complete our course within 2 -4 weeks.

The course cost is currently 50% off the regular enrollment price and is now being offered at a very reasonable. Visit our photography school homepage to learn more about the course and sign up today.

Please feel free to email us if you have any questions. We’re more than happy to help!