Picture this: you come home after a great day out photographing and you’re excited to look through all the beautiful images you’ve captured. However, after importing them you realize that they’re all garbage because they’re blurry.
I’m sure you’ve experienced that, as have the majority of us. Personally, I’ve had to throw away several promising images due to them not being sharp.
In a perfect world, you’d come home after every session with 100% of the images being tack sharp but unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. However, there are certain elements you should be aware of and take into consideration when in the field, that will reduce the likeliness of your images being blurry.
1. The Shutter Speed is too Slow
The first and most common cause is a shutter speed that’s too slow. This can be because you’re using an automatic or semi-automatic shooting mode or you’ve manually chosen a shutter speed that isn’t ideal for the situation.
Typically, it occurs when photographing during the Golden Hour or other time of day when there’s less light. You’re unlikely to encounter this problem in harsh daylight.
A rule of thumb is to never use a shutter speed slower than the focal length. For example, for a 14mm lens, I wouldn’t use a shutter speed slower than 1/14th of a second without a tripod. For a 200mm, I would avoid using a shutter speed much slower than 1/200th of a second or else it’s time to set up the tripod.
Alternatively, you can increase the ISO or use a wider aperture to obtain a quicker shutter speed. Keep in mind, though, that increasing the ISO and/or opening the aperture will also have an impact on the image quality.