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Get Sharper Photos FAST With These Easy to Implement Tips for Sharper Photos!

If there is ONE thing a photo needs to be, it’s sharp. Unless you’re purposefully aiming for an out of focus, creative look, getting sharper photos is something I think all of us are working towards. And guessing by the number of times we see this question come up, I’d say it’s one of the most common issues out there. How can I get sharper photos? Why aren’t my photos as sharp as I want? Today we have 6 quick and easy to implement tips for sharper photos!

Choose Your Focus Point

The very first step to getting the sharp photos you’re after is to make sure that you (not your camera) are selecting the point of focus in your photos. Most cameras have an auto focus setting that will allow the camera to select the focus point for you. We recommend that you choose the focus point on your own, and don’t let the camera choose the focal point for you. When your camera selects the focus point for you, it often picks either the area of highest contrast in the frame, or the object in the frame closest to the camera. Selecting your own focus point gives you ultimate control over where the camera focuses.

tips for sharper photos

Each camera is different, so check your camera’s user manual for how to select your focus points with your model. Usually, the focus points can be selected by pressing an AF (auto-focus) point selection button and using a dial on your camera to navigate to the focus point you want.

tips for sharper photos

It’s also worth noting that your camera has two different types of focus points: single focus points and cross-type focus points. Cross-type focus points tend to focus faster and more reliably, so when it’s possible, use your camera’s cross type focus points. You can check your camera’s manual to see which of your focus points are single and which are cross-type.

Steady Yourself

The better you are braced, the more steady you can be when taking a photo. Most of the time, this can be achieved with having a steady stance when shooting.  However, you might also try bracing your elbows against your body, or leaning on a wall or structure when you can, to keep yourself steady while shooting and avoiding camera shake.

Press the Shutter Gently

It never occurred to me that I could be getting camera shake from pressing the shutter until someone pointed it out to me one day! When you press shutter, pay close attention that you aren’t moving your entire camera as you push down on the button. Keep in mind to press gently, and even try not to breathe, as this can cause camera shake.

Check Your Shutter Speed

Keeping your shutter speed fast enough is one of the key elements to a sharp photo. A good general rule of thumb for non-moving subjects is to keep your shutter speed at least 1.5x your focal length. For example, if you’re shooting with a 100mm lens, it’s best to keep the shutter speed at a minimum of 1/150. However, you’ll also want to consider your need to freeze motion. If you are taking photos of moving subjects like kids or sports, you’ll want your shutter speed even faster. When I am photographing young, quick moving children, I almost always keep my shutter speed at 1/400 or faster. I also love to use Back Button Focus with a continuous focus mode for my moving subjects.

tips for sharper photos
f2.8, ISO 160, 1/500

Understand Your Aperture

Understanding aperture and focal planes is an important component in taking sharp photos. You’ll want to make sure your aperture isn’t too narrow to get everything you want in focus. Still confused about how aperture and depth of field impact your photos? You can read more here and here. It also helps to really get to know your lenses and which aperture they are sharpest at. Each lens has a “sweet spot” aperture that is sharpest, usually 2-3 stops above wide open.

Your Lens Matters

Your kit lens just won’t get you as sharp of a photo as a higher quality lens. However, don’t fall into the thinking that a super expensive lens will solve all of your issues for you. If you don’t understand how to use your camera, or how to do the things mentioned above, you still won’t get sharp photos. Regardless, there is something to be said about the higher quality of photo that you can obtain with quality equipment.

There is a lot that goes into taking sharp photos! If your images aren’t as sharp as you want, these tips for sharper photos should help you narrow down the issue. Fortunately, these are all simple tips to implement!