How to get sharp images: 8 aspects to take into account

sharp image of a flamingo

Do you strive to improve your photography but can’t always get sharp images?

Does it ever happen that you go home, download photos to your computer, and realize that unlike what you thought you saw on the camera display, some of the best shots of the session are not perfectly in detail?

I’ll tell you a secret: it happen to everyone!

There are many factors to take into account when taking a photo and there are several reasons why this problem can occur. That’s why it’s important to know them and understand where your mistake originates. In this article we will analyze all the possibilities, to remove any doubt on the subject.

8 aspects to take into account to get sharp images:

1. Blur due to inappropriate shutter speed

Different from that caused by camera shake. This happens when you use inappropriate shutter speed to try to block the movement of a subject. In this situation, the subject will be “blurred”, while the rest of the image will probably not. When camera shake is the cause, the entire image is “micro-blurred”.

One of the best-known way to avoid the “Camera Shake” is to apply the “Reciprocal Rule”, which I talked about in a previous article;

motion blur subject

2. Camera Resolution

The camera body I use regularly, a Canon 5DSR, with a 50-megapixel sensor is fantastic in resolution and detail. While I get great quality images, I have to be even more careful, because these high-resolution cameras show a greater intolerance to vibration than the low-resolution ones. In these cases it is appropriate to increase the shutter speed to a safe value, slightly higher than what the “Reciprocal Rule” suggests;

3. Lens Quality

There is a reason why some optics are more expensive than others and above all heavier. Optical quality is a factor affecting sharpness;

4. HPB

There are proper forms of handle, posture, and breath when photographing to avoid “camera shake”. Useful especially when using slow shutter speeds or wide focal lengths. (Also useful for your back!)

5. Weight

An aspect that is strictly connected to the previous one. The weight of the camera and lens affects the vibrations generated by the body.

6. Lens Calibration

Each lens is calibrated at the factory before being marketed. As it is an industrial process, however, you should check your lenses with a technician from time to time to make sure they are calibrated and working properly. It is quite common, especially with some brands to have problems with “Front Focus” or “Back Focus”. A poorly calibrated lens generates images that are not sharp, slightly out of focus.

7. Mirror Slap

This is a mechanical movement that moves the camera mirror so that light can pass from the lens to the sensor. The vibrations generated by this movement are important and annoying in some situations, where we need to obtain the maximum possible sharpness.

To avoid them you have two possibilities: since once the mirror is up, you won’t be able to use the optical viewfinder, you could evaluate the values to use and the composition first and then “lock the mirror” in the settings menu. Or simply use the “Live View”, a function now present in every reflex camera that always works with the mirror up.

The problem doesn’t apply if you’re using a Mirrorless.

travel photographer

8. Post-Production

Although you should always make sure to get a sharp image at the moment, you can “help” yourself  later with a post-production software, like Photoshop. There are several sharping techniques that can be used in different situations and deserve a separate article.

I hope this list will help you to evaluate and understand how to correct these errors and get sharper images. If you have any doubts or comments about this write in the box below.

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2 thoughts on “How to get sharp images: 8 aspects to take into account”

  1. I really want to learn how to make sharp images! So that it was hard to breathe from the delight received from photography. To feel the soul, to feel like it’s alive, right here nearby, you can touch … BUT the “blur story” is about me. Although I even like some shots. I’m afraid that they violate all possible rules 😊And the list of recommendations is very good, I’ll go and work on the mistakes.

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