Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Taking Great Photos Part 7 - The Breath

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The breath? Now, just what in the world is that supposed to mean, Teachinfourth? I breathe all the time, why should one breath be more important than any other I take?

Thanks for asking.

The reason ‘the breath’ is so important is that many of us go out to take photos; later, we sadly discover that all of the shots (or many of them) are blurry. But this cannot be! We checked the shutter speed, the aperture, and everything else. There’s no reason why these shots should be blurred...and yet they are.

This blurriness just might be due to the fact that you haven’t been taking what I like to call, “the breath.”

Many people, when pushing the shutter button, move their hands up or down slightly at the same time; many times, they don’t even realize that they’re doing this. Even this slightest movement of your camera (especially when zoomed in) can have a drastic effect on clarity the shot you have just taken. Now, though many lenses today have IS for helping the shots to overcome this shakiness (which is just an initialism for Image Stabilization) taking this small breath before you snap can have the biggest impact on your images for clarity.

(The red arrows indicate the IS switch).

It was a few years ago that I noticed that when I took pictures that were at a lower shutter speed, many of them came out blurry. This was simply from the fact that I was not holding the camera as steadily as I should have when snapping away. I can still remember my grandpa telling me, “take a breath right before you push the shutter down and hold it; try to hold your hands as still as possible.” He then went on to explain that leaning against something can help you to maintain your stability as well—or even better—using a tripod.

I began to ‘take the breath’ before I snapped my photos and began to notice a decrease in blurry images. This little tip worked like magic!

Of course, if you haven’t focused your camera properly to begin with, you won’t get clear images—no matter how still you hold it. Always make sure that your camera is set to automatic focus

Now, there’ve been times in which I’ve switched my camera to manual focus. I usually do this when the camera itself is having difficulty focusing on the part of the image I’d like to have clear (see the blue arrows). When I’ve not remembered to turn autofocus back on when I’ve finished, I usually wind up with a blurred shot or two afterward. Now, while in the digital age you may think that losing one or two shots isn’t that big of a deal; however, what if you whipped your camera out of your bag after your last use, and you quickly snapped a shot at that perfect moment your child kicks the winning goal into the net?

There are some images we just don’t want to miss. Like I said in an earlier tutorial, always put your camera back to your personal ‘default’ settings. That way it’s ready at a moment’s notice for use the next time.

Just like putting your car keys in the right place so you can find them for work in the morning

Until next time; shoot ‘til you get it.

But wait, Teachinfourth…what if I don’t have IS on my camera?

All the more reason to utilize ‘the breath’ as often as you snap a photo.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: About Your Camera
Part 3: Aperture
Part 4: Shutter Speed
Part 5: White Balance
Part 6: ISO
Part 7: The Breath
Part 8: The Rule of Thirds


mCat said...

And now I know! 50% of the stuff I get on my cheapo camera is blurry. I can't afford the nice camera, but I can breathe.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I so agree w/taking a breath..
Also someone told me to keep your feet in alignment w/your shoulders.. make your body a tripod-.. Even balanced and that takes the blurriness out as well.

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