You take an important shot, but it turns out to be blurry … It’s good when you have the opportunity to take another shot, but it also happens that the moment is irretrievably lost. Imagine how hurtful it can be if you are filming the first steps of a child or any other event that will never happen again. So why are blurry photos and how to avoid it?
Blurred photo due to long exposure
Shaking is possible under different circumstances, but most often it’s a slow shutter speed. It is she who is the most common cause of blurry frames. In this case, vibrations of the camera itself can be insignificant and even imperceptible. The minimum shake appears already at a shutter speed of more than 1/60 second, although a lot depends on the level of stabilization of the camera and the experience of the photographer.
The solution is simple: to get a sharp image, shorten the shutter speed. For different focal lengths, certain values \u200b\u200bof this parameter are suitable for handheld shooting. More details about exposure will be discussed below.
Another way to solve the shake problem is to use a tripod.. But even with it, fluctuations are possible, for example, with strong gusts of wind. In this case, many tripod models are equipped with a special hook for hanging loads (usually even a backpack with photographic equipment is enough). Unfortunately, a tripod at slow shutter speeds is useless if there are moving objects in the frame. So we smoothly approached the next common cause of blurry pictures.
Moving object = blurry photo
Moving subjects are always harder to shoot than static ones. Due to the rapid change in composition, the frames are blurry, and the longer the shutter speed, the more deplorable the result. In such situations, even a tripod does not save. The built-in stabilization function helps a bit, forgiving minor mistakes by the photographer and allowing you to set the shutter speed a little longer. A suitable value has to be selected taking into account the circumstances and the object being filmed. Here are the basic shutter speed parameters that you can build on:
— when shooting a stationary object, shutter speeds up to 1/60 s are sufficient;
— if you are photographing children, you need a shutter speed of 1/200 s or even shorter;
— when it is necessary to “freeze” the movement of an athlete or a car in a race, a shutter speed of no longer than 1/500 s is required.
There is also one simple formula that will help you navigate when setting shutter speed: fastest shutter speed = 1 / focal length. Accordingly, on a 200 mm telephoto lens, the shutter speed should not be longer than 1/200. You also need to learn how to smoothly press the shutter when taking pictures with your hands.
Modern cameras for shooting moving subjects have tracking autofocus, which anticipates the movement of the subject and focuses on it without losing sight. Nikon and Pentax cameras call this feature AI Servo AF or AF‑C, while Canon calls it Auto Select.
DOF and blurry shots
DOF stands for Depth of Field. In other words, just depth of field. When it is not enough, the pictures are blurry. Let’s explain with an example: if you have an 18–55mm whale lens, at f / 5.6 the depth of field will be about 7 cm at the long end, and the subject will be in focus at a distance of about 1 meter. Everything that will be located outside the depth of field will turn out to be blurry.
Such blurring is often experienced by people shooting with a smartphone or compact digital cameras, which have high depth of field and all objects are in the sharpness zone. The larger the sensor, the lower the depth of field. This gives the pictures volume by blurring the background.
If you are shooting with single point focus, you may experience blurry photos. It is caused by an autofocus error or slight movement of the camera or subject. The depth of field in this case also shifts, and the frame turns out to be blurry.
There are several ways to avoid this problem:
— manually specify the focus point (but this is inconvenient);
— do not rotate the camera, but shift it only parallel to the plane of the object being filmed;
— use manual focus;
— increase the depth of field by closing the aperture (in this case, the background will be blurred less).
Why are all photos blurry in the dark?
It is more difficult for any camera to focus in a dark space if it does not have an expensive fast lens attached to it. In other cases, everything works like this: due to the lack of light, the shutter speed becomes longer, and the photo turns out to be blurry. There are several solutions to the situation, and they can be used in combination:
— Add light. There are many ways, the choice depends on the circumstances. You can either move the subject closer to the light source, or turn on the autofocus assist function in the camera (it only works at short distances), or use the flash, and so on.
— Increase ISO and open aperture wider. When shooting in automatic mode, only ISO sensitivity is usually adjusted, and the aperture cannot be controlled — you will have to switch to manual mode.
— Use a tripod or place the camera on a static surface. In such cases, the photo will turn out sharp at any shutter speed, provided that the objects in the frame are still.
Weather and blurry shots — what’s the connection
There was one non-obvious reason for blurry photos — it would seem, how can weather conditions affect the focus of the camera? In fact, they can, and sometimes very significantly. The problem manifests itself mainly when shooting distant subjects, so if you specialize in portraits, you may never have encountered this.
So, if the air is filled with different particles (there is a fog, it’s raining lightly, or it’s haze from the heat outside), they can prevent you from achieving perfect sharpness. We have no control over these circumstances. You can try to “play” with the settings by setting different shutter speed, ISO and aperture values, or simply reschedule shooting to another day, if possible.
More reasons why your photos always come out blurry
There are other factors that can affect quality. Blurred photos can be obtained if:
— The subject is too close. Each lens has a minimum focusing distance. For example, telephoto lenses focus on subjects at least two meters away.
— The lens is dusty. Keep the lens clean and wipe it periodically.
— Poor quality (or worn out from time) light filter.
— Cheap kit lens. Although even they can get good shots with proper skill.
To get a sharp image in the pictures, practice more by analyzing your mistakes. And remember that even the pros make mistakes sometimes, so each shoot starts with a few sighting shots to assess the situation.