6 Ways to Achieve Sharper Images | Education for Photographers


Trying to achieve sharper images- IN-camera?? While editing can fix things like white balance and exposure, it’s a lot more difficult to try to make an out-of-focus image look sharp! Getting crisp images starts with shooting correctly in-camera. While editing can make a sharp image look even better, there’s only so much that can be done to save an image that wasn’t sharp in the first place!

I’m sharing 6 tips to making sure your images are sharp in every situation!

Use a shutter speed of at least 1/200, or twice the focal length!

Look at the focal length of your lens, and multiply it by 2 to see the minimum shutter speed to use! If you’re using an 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be at least 1/100 (50×2). However, I go one step further and never go under 1/200! Even though 1/100 is twice the focal length, I’ve found going under 1/200 can be risky when I shoot! So stay at least at 1/200, and then double the focal length if the lens is over 200mm.

Use back-button focus.

Instead of pressing the shutter halfway down to focus, I use a button on the back of my camera to focus, and the shutter only takes the picture! This way I can use one of the stronger focus points (the middle ones) to focus on a subject’s face, then slightly move my camera to reframe if I want the focused face somewhere else in the frame! I also refocus between every shot to make sure I’m nailing the focus! The set-up for back-button focus can vary camera to camera, but I’d suggest trying it and practicing before using it for a client! This way you’re comfortable with it since it is an adjustment!

Take more images than needed.

I normally take at least 5 images of the same thing, and focus between each image! While this sounds like a lot, I shoot FAST. I don’t use continuous shooting mode, but just quickly refocus and press the shutter. I’ll normally take more than 5, and often some are slightly out of focus! But since I took several, I can be sure I’m shooting enough and getting crisp images!

Be sure your aperture is high enough.

I LOVE shooting with a wide aperture (low number). BUT even though my favorite lens can go as wide as f/1.2, I never photograph clients with an aperture that wide! SO little would be in focus, I prefer to play it a little safe and normally shoot clients with my aperture set around f/2.2-2.8! If there’s multiple rows you’ll want to go even higher than that!

Purchase lenses with VR/IS.

Canon lenses with a red ring around the rim shows the lens has Image Stabilization. This helps off-set any shaking that naturally comes from shooting! Nikon has the same thing called Vibration Reduction (VR). Having lenses with these options is an extra step to ensure crisper images! If a lens with this option isn’t in your budget right now, remember that using the shutter speed rule will make up for this!

Use flash in dim light.

In dim, indoor situations, it can be hard to get sharp images! First, your camera might be slower focusing since there’s less contrast if everything is dark. Second, it might be too hard to keep your shutter speed at least at 1/200 to capture movement and still let enough light in! Receptions often involve a lot of movement like dancing, so that can be hard to capture sharply! But knowing how to use your flash to get sharp images even in dark receptions will step up your images! Even with a lot of dancing, I’m able to shoot quick, sharp images for my clients!

If you’d like to learn more about using flash, visit the shop for my off-camera flash guide!

I hope this helps as you produce even sharper images at your next session or wedding



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