Tagged tips

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!

Getting Close Is Critical For Stunning Photographs


“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
- Robert Capa

That one line photography quote by the great Robert Capa is so so true!

If there is anything you can do to dramatically improve your photography immediately, it’s get close, and then get even closer.

Here is a example of something I witnessed at the top of Uluru in Australia. The man below thinks he is going to shoot a good photo and he is trying his best. In fact this is how close the average person gets when taking a photograph like this.

This is how close I get when taking a photograph:

It’s so easy to get close and it results in vastly superior photographs almost every single time. Also take special note here that the best way to get close is by moving your feet. If that doesn’t work only then do you use your telephoto lens. Got it?! Good!

Just look at the photos below and you’ll see how different the same subject can be.

Too far:

photo by rankingfuuta

Just right:

photo by mjmerry

So get out there and get close!

Want to learn more simple ways to improve your images? We have all kinds of tips and tricks like this in our photography course.

Learn The Importance of Scale In Photography


(Photographer unknown. If you know who took this get in touch so we can give credit where it’s due!)

This photograph of two men standing at the bottom of a very large ship in a dry dock is a really stunning example of scale in photography. Using scale in photography is very important because as humans our minds figure out the size of our surrounding world in various ways. Of course your brain knows the size of a human and in this case that means that is one HUGE ship!

Scale gives the person looking at your photograph a frame of reference. Scale is often an under-utilized technique in photography. In fact many beginners in photography will even go so far as to remove people from a landscape photo thinking people in the image detract from the view. When in fact having people in your landscape photos can often be great! For example look at how much better this image is because there is a person in the foreground:


photo by steved

Be aware your brain can and will play tricks on you:

In fact this caused problems for astronauts on the moon! Here on Earth, distant objects are obscured by the atmosphere, and we use that to mentally estimate distances. That makes things a little tricky on the moon because there is no air! An object can be very far away on the Moon and still razor sharp to the eye. You can’t tell if a boulder is a meter across and 50 meters away, or 10 meters across and 10 miles away!

To give you an example this watch the rock the start of this video. Try to guess the size of the rock at the start of the video. Then watch until the end and see if your original guess was indeed correct.

Here is another fantastic example of scale in photography:
example of scale in photography
(Photographer unknown. If you know who took this get in touch so we can give credit where it’s due! Image via Imgur)

Scale is a great technique to improve your images and shouldn’t be overlooked. You can even have fun with it like this. As humans we need scaled to know how large and small the surround world is. In photography it helps us to enjoy the image instead of adding mental work to figure out the size of various elements.

Here is another video about scale (and polarizing filters)

Now go forth and take some great photographs with scale!

Update here is another great ship photo.

328 Photography Themes: A List Of Themes To Photograph


photo by ClickFlashPhotos

This list of photography themes is super hand for those of you feeling like there is nothing to photograph. Photography themes are a great way to organize your photography. Often students say their town is boring or there is nothing to shoot. There is ALWAYS something to photograph!

Just take a look at this list of themes and items that are interesting to shoot. It should get you started.

If you’re wondering why using themes in photography is useful read this.

We will update this list as we come up with new ideas.

  1. Abandoned Buildings
  2. Abstracts
  3. Amphibian
  4. Anger
  5. Arches
  6. Architecture
  7. Autumn
  8. Back Alleys
  9. Bad Weather
  10. Bald Heads
  11. Balloons
  12. Bare Feet
  13. Bark
  14. Barns
  15. Bees
  16. Bicycle Parts
  17. Bikes
  18. Birds
  19. Black and White
  20. Blimps
  21. Blue
  22. Bolts
  23. Bones
  24. Books
  25. Bottles
  26. Bridge
  27. Bridges
  28. Broken Glass
  29. Bronze
  30. Brown
  31. Bump
  32. Butterflies
  33. Butterflies / Bees
  34. Campsites
  35. Car Details
  36. Catching People Unaware
  37. Cats
  38. Celebrations
  39. Choice
  40. Church Windows
  41. Churches
  42. Circles
  43. City Hall
  44. City Skylines
  45. City Street Scenes
  46. Close-up
  47. Clouds
  48. Cold
  49. Colours
  50. Columns
  51. Computers
  52. Contrasts
  53. Covered Bridges
  54. Critters
  55. Culture
  56. Curves
  57. Custom Cars
  58. Dancers
  59. Decorations
  60. Demonic
  61. Demonstrations
  62. Devilish
  63. Digital
  64. Disappearing Professions
  65. Disappearing Technologies
  66. Dishes
  67. Documentary
  68. Dogs
  69. Dominating
  70. Doom and gloom
  71. Door Knobs
  72. Doors
  73. Dots / Dashes / Diagonals
  74. Drawers
  75. Duplicates
  76. Easter
  77. Eggs
  78. Elation
  79. Embrace
  80. Emergency Situations
  81. Enthusiasm / eager
  82. Environmental Trash
  83. Events
  84. Eye Glasses
  85. Eyes
  86. Farm Animals
  87. Feathers
  88. Feet
  89. Feisty
  90. Feline
  91. Femininity
  92. Fences
  93. Fetes & Festivals
  94. Fetish
  95. Fire
  96. Fire Engines
  97. Fireworks / Fire
  98. Fish
  99. Flags
  100. Flower Petals
  101. Flowers
  102. Food
  103. Forks
  104. Forms in Nature
  105. Fountains
  106. Framed
  107. Freeways
  108. Frozen
  109. Fruit
  110. Games
  111. Gardens
  112. Gates
  113. Gears
  114. Geriatric (older folks)
  115. Glamour
  116. Glass
  117. Gold
  118. Graceful
  119. Graffiti
  120. Green
  121. H Hands
  122. Halloween
  123. Hallways
  124. Handles
  125. Hands
  126. Happiness
  127. Harbours
  128. Harvest
  129. Hats
  130. Hidden
  131. History
  132. Holiday
  133. Horizon
  134. Horses
  135. Hot Rod Cars
  136. Hunger
  137. Ice
  138. Inclines
  139. Indian Ruins
  140. Indigenous Things Or People
  141. Industrial
  142. Insects
  143. Inspiration
  144. Iridescent
  145. Iron
  146. Isolated Objects
  147. Jails
  148. Jets
  149. Jewelry
  150. Jobs
  151. Joints
  152. Journalistic
  153. Joy
  154. Jugs
  155. Junk Yards
  156. Keys
  157. Kids
  158. Kin or Families
  159. Kite
  160. Kites
  161. Knives
  162. Landscapes
  163. Lazy
  164. Learning
  165. Leaves
  166. Legs
  167. Letters
  168. Light
  169. Lightning
  170. Lights
  171. Locks
  172. Machine Parts
  173. Macro
  174. Marine life
  175. Masculinity
  176. Masks
  177. Mass flowers
  178. Mirrors
  179. Money
  180. Monuments
  181. Mood
  182. Movie Theater Marquees
  183. Muse
  184. Mushrooms
  185. Neon Signs
  186. Night
  187. Night lights
  188. Nighttime
  189. Nonsense
  190. Noodles
  191. Numbers
  192. Nut
  193. Nuts
  194. Objects
  195. Odd Couples
  196. Old Everything
  197. Olympic
  198. Opposites
  199. Opulent
  200. Orange
  201. Pairs
  202. Paper Abstracts
  203. Parallel Lines
  204. Patterns
  205. Peacocks
  206. Peeling Paint
  207. People
  208. People At Work
  209. People Walking Dogs
  210. Peppers
  211. Perspective
  212. Pets
  213. Pictures in Pictures
  214. Piles of Things
  215. Pink / Purple
  216. Polished
  217. Porches
  218. Quad
  219. Quarters
  220. Queens
  221. Railroad Cars
  222. Railroad Tracks
  223. Raindrops
  224. Rainbows
  225. Red
  226. Red Barns
  227. Reenactments
  228. Reflection
  229. Reflections in Glass
  230. Reflections in Water
  231. Religious
  232. Roadscapes
  233. Rocks
  234. Round Things
  235. Rows of Things
  236. Rust
  237. Rustic
  238. Sand dunes
  239. Sand Patterns
  240. Sea Shells
  241. Seascapes
  242. Seasons
  243. Self
  244. Shadows
  245. Shoes
  246. Signs
  247. Silhouettes
  248. Skulls
  249. Sky
  250. Sleeping Animals
  251. Sleeping People
  252. Small Furry Animals
  253. Smiles
  254. Smoke Stacks
  255. Snow
  256. Soft Curves
  257. Sorrow
  258. Spanish Moss
  259. Speed
  260. Spoons
  261. Sports
  262. Spring
  263. Squirrel
  264. Stacks
  265. Stairs
  266. Statues
  267. Steam Railroads
  268. Still life
  269. Strange Signs
  270. String Instruments
  271. Structures
  272. Summer
  273. Sunrise
  274. Sunset
  275. Superstitions
  276. Sweets
  277. Swings
  278. Tattoos
  279. Teddy Bear / toy
  280. Textures
  281. The Local School
  282. The spot (X marks it, you know)
  283. Toads
  284. Tombstones
  285. Tools
  286. Tools of the Trade
  287. Transport
  288. Tree Knots
  289. Trees
  290. Ugly Everything
  291. Umbrella
  292. Umbrellas
  293. Ungulates (hoofed animals, pigs, goats, deer horses)
  294. Uniforms
  295. Urban
  296. Utensils
  297. Vacation
  298. Valves
  299. Vegetables
  300. Vices or Habits
  301. Views
  302. Vignettes
  303. Vines
  304. Visitors
  305. Watches
  306. Water
  307. Waterfalls
  308. Weather
  309. Weathered Wood
  310. Wet
  311. Wheels
  312. White
  313. Wide Angle Everything
  314. Wildlife
  315. Windows
  316. Winter
  317. Woods
  318. Xenon
  319. Xenophobia
  320. Xylophones
  321. Yachts
  322. Yellow
  323. Yo-yos
  324. Zebras
  325. Zig Zags
  326. Zipper
  327. Zombies!
  328. Zoos

How’s that for a list of things to shoot?! Now get out there and take some great photographs!

This website is an online photography school where you can learn to take amazing photos. Learn more.

guy jumping in the air

How to Take Jumping Photos

Everywhere we go it seems like people want to take photos of each other jumping in the air! And why not? It’s great fun and you can get some really fun and energetic photos this way.

Based on the number of people who seem to try to take the same photo over and over it seems people don’t understand how to take photographs this way. There are so many failed attempts that we thought we’d put together some tips on how to take these photos properly.

Get close
The closer you are the better your jumping photo will look. The subject will look as though they are much higher in the air and the effect will be more pronounced. In this photo I was using a wide angle lens and I was quite close.

Get low
The same applies here, the lower you are the better your jumping photo will look. Again, the subject will look like they are much higher in the air and the overall effect will be more energetic.

Use a flash
If you can, use a flash to help freeze the action. Using the flash adds more light and makes it much easier for your camera to shoot an image that isn’t blurry. If no flash was used in this image it simply would not have worked at all. This photo was taken inside a massive tree.

Learn your camera’s timing
If your camera is not a DSLR there may be a delay between pressing the shutter and when the photo is actually taken. The trick is the learn the delay between when you push the button and when the photo is shot. Most point and shoot cameras have some kind of delay because of their auto-focus system. Once you have this delay mastered your jumping photos will be dramatically improved.

Do the countdown
Tell your subjects that you will countdown from three and say jump in order to get the timing right. So you’d say something like 3,2,1,JUMP! You may have to do this a few times to get the timing right. Interestingly many people say things like “ready? go!” or “ok, JUMP!” which clearly doesn’t work.

Shoot Portrait not Landscape
If you shoot your image in portrait as opposed to landscape you’ll exaggerate the height of the jump. You’ll also have a better chance of catching the action given it’s quite an up and down… Also, be sure to include some of the floor or ground in the image to show more height.

Strike a Pose
Tell the person you’re photography to do a funny ‘move’ or ‘pose’ when they’re in the air. It will make for a more dynamic image.

There are even websites dedicated to jumping photos:

http://justjumpingphotos.com

http://www.jumpingphotos.com

I took all the photos in this post and had lots of fun doing it. We hope you enjoy taking your jumping pictures as well.

dslr_camera

What is the difference between a digital camera and a digital SLR camera?

The other day I was in a camera shop and overheard a customer talking with a store clerk about the differences between digital cameras and digital SLR cameras. I have both and use both for varying reasons. But it was nevertheless interesting to hear how store employees tried up-selling a digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera over a regular digital camera.

For starters, digital SLR cameras are really starting to become quite the rage. High quality, entry level cameras are now available for less than $1000 and include starter lenses so you can go out and start taking pictures right away.

Buying a new camera is a tough decision. Obviously price plays a big factor as does camera and picture quality.

If you are looking for a good quality SLR camera you can buy a non digital one used for less than $100. The quality will be fantastic but you’ll be shooting film (which is a wonderful world to discover). But you won’t have the obvious digital picture storage benefits of a digital camera. So SLR cameras with the ability to add and detach lenses (wide angle, telephoto etc) are possible on most SLR cameras.

Today, for about $600 and up you can get a digital SLR. The biggest benefit to a digital SLR over other digital cameras is the ability to add and detach lenses. You can buy or often even use lenses from regular SLR cameras. If you’ve been taking pictures for a long time you’ll start to want to experience with different lenses at some point. I remember using a wide-angle lens the first time and remembering how much it changed my perspective of the art. Shooting urban landscapes and nature landscapes became, one again, enjoyable for me and renewed my sense of passion for this art form.

The problem with regular digital cameras is they often don’t have the ability to attach lenses which means you’re stuck with whatever lens is on there. In the world of digital cameras retailers often try to sell their customers on “megapixels” alone. While megapixels can be important, they are far from the most important element of a digital camera. Manual control is much more important. From being able to set your own aperture settings, shutter speed settings and adding or removing lens attachments is much more important.

So here is what I would recommend. If you are just starting out with photography a regular digital camera would be great. You can take over 200 pictures per day and practice the basic rules of composition and framing. You can really focus on the art of photography. These camera’s cost anywhere from $100 – $400 for very powerful cameras with lots of manual control (with the exception of lens changing)

If you are more advanced and want to play with lenses you should consider getting a digital SLR. This will allow you to take many photographs and have the ability to have full manual control of both camera settings and lenses. The downside that these cameras start at about the $600 range, but quickly jump up to over $1000 for entry level cameras.

However, if you just want the manual benefits of the SLR, consider getting a used SLR for the price of a basic digital camera. You will get full manual control and you’ll be able to add lenses. If in the future you upgrade to a digital SLR you could possibly even use any lenses you buy for your regular SLR and use them on your new digital SLR!
I hope this helps with your future purchase decisions.