The Top 3 Reasons Why Your Images Aren’t Sharp Enough and How to Fix Them

One of the most frustrating moments in a photographer's career is when you think you got a perfect shot, only to see that the image you captured is blurry. Moment ruined! 

There are a few reasons why your images are coming out shaky and out of focus. I'm going to cover the top 3 causes of fuzzy images and what you can do to fix them. 

Camera Blur

Cause

If you find that your images contain a camera blur, you can most likely blame it on an improper grip on your camera that’s keeping you from holding it steady. Also, tapping the shutter rather than pressing it down firmly will cause a vibration that results in blurriness.

Fix

A monopod or tripod will greatly benefit photographers with naturally shaky hands, especially when working under low light conditions. If you prefer the freedom of shooting without one of these helpers, practice your camera grip. I personally find that inhaling when focusing and exhaling while pressing the shutter greatly improves any camera blur caused by shaky hands.

 

Motion Blur

Cause

Motion blur is caused by setting your shutter speed too low when trying to freeze objects in motion. Many photographers who shoot children, sports, animals, and cars run into this issue from time to time. Low light conditions only exaggerate this problem. 

Fix

Increase your shutter speed to freeze the motion in your photographs and eliminate the motion blur. Also, increase your ISO to allow your camera to process the light more quickly. Extremely high ISO settings may introduce some grain into your image, but you will find that grain is more preferable than a blur.  If you’re shooting under poorly lit conditions and have increased your ISO as much as you dare to, you’ll need to increase the light in your scene. This is where artificial lighting will be very beneficial.

 

Improper Focus

Cause

Failure to adjust your camera's focal point for each scene or shot will result in improper focus. Generally, you’ll want your focal point to be on your subject’s eyes. Also, many of us are guilty of focusing on one area of the image and then moving the camera to recompose the shot. Lastly, when we or our subject move while we are focusing the shot, the result will be an improper focus. 

Fix

I find that the back button focusing greatly reduces the chances of shooting a blurry image. It allows you to remove the focusing function from the shutter so you’ll no longer need to hold down your shutter to maintain focus, which can be tricky when shooting moving subjects. By separating the focus and shutter functions from one another, you’ll be able to get your focus and shot at the exact same time. While I still personally prefer to toggle my focus points, being able to focus your shot and recompose as needed is a game-changer for many photographers.

Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help you greatly reduce or eliminate these blur issues in your photography. While very blurry images are impossible to fix in editing, a slightly soft or out-of-focus image can be greatly improved with a bit of sharpening in post.

If you have any images that fall under this category, be sure to download my free sharpening actions. I’ve also included a social media resizing and sharpening action to combat that awful Facebook upload compression. Nobody likes spending their precious time editing an image to perfection only to have Facebook render it a pixelated mess!

I hope you enjoy these tools and use them to your benefit.

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