Camera shake is a problem that all photographers face. Although lots of lenses come with VR (Vibration Reduction) or IS (Image Stabilization) technology, not everyone can afford this feature – and even the best of us don’t have a totally steady hand. Here are a few tips to help you out with reducing the affect of camera shake.
Every few weeks, we revisit some of our reader's favorite posts from throughout the history of the site. This tutorial was first published in November of 2010.
Step 1. Elbows In!
Try to hold a good, strong stance – legs shoulder width apart and standing tall and strong, holding the camera tightly into your face. The key is to tuck in your elbows, which will help support your upper body and reduce any chance of movement in your arms.
It also helps to either exhale or breathe in and hold your breath for the duration of the shot, as even the expansion of your lungs may cause that slight unwanted movement.
Step 2. Hold That Stance
There are two other popular stances which you could employ to help with stability. The first involves squatting down with one knee pointing up, using the knee as a rest for your elbow. Again, remembering to hold the camera tightly to your face and breathe out!
The other option is to lie flat on the ground, using your elbows to prop you up. This gives a lot of stability as you are totally grounded, but it’s often difficult to get the shot you want because of the angle. But you never know, it might provide an interesting view!
Step 3. Get Leaning
One of the best ways to stay steady ‘in the field’ is to find a solid structure to lean or rest on such as a wall, fence, or lamp post. Depending on the height, you could actually rest your camera upon said object – but often it’s better to just lean, taking some of the weight off your feet and giving that much needed stability.
Another tip that will help is to get as close to your subject as possible. The less you have to zoom, the lesser the impact of movement will be.
Step 4. And Of Course… Carry a Tripod!
The last and least practical of solutions is to carry a tripod with you. This will guarantee stability and reduce any risk of camera shake.
Obviously it’s not always convenient to carry a full size tripod, so it might be worth investing in a pocket-size mini tripod, which will give you all the stability of a full size tripod without all the inconvenience.
You could also try using a cable release, or the timer on your camera, to avoid any vibration moving through the camera as your depress the shutter.
Share Your Tips!
These are just a few of the techniques I employ to help out with this problem. Do you have any of your own? I’d love to hear them, so please do leave a comment and share your ideas!