Sharpness Series Part One: Proper Handholding

In Tips and Tricks by Patrick

One of the most common questions that I find coming into my inbox is the question of “How do you get consistently sharp images? A very valid question and one that I asked as well at some point as I become more serious about the craft of photography. The first step in the process, irregardless of whether you shoot a larger DSLR or a point and shoot, is proper hand holding. If you Google “Proper hand holding for camera” you will receive 806,000 hits at the time of the posting, so obviously this is a popular topic and this has been done to death by a great many photographers and rightfully so. There are some subtleties betwen methods, but for the most part there are some common threads. This post pertains to left eye shooters. Lets start with how you stand.

Shooters stance
You want to adopt a shooters profile. The base of support is really critical in capturing a sharp image. This is not anything that I made up, it has been taught for a long time.

Stock Photo

Stock Photo

Bring your elbows into your sides. You don’t need to squeeze excessively tight, just rest them on your sides. You will notice in this photo the triangle that bringing your arms in forms. This three sided point of contact is not unlike the tripod, another tool in capturing a sharp image.

Cradle the lens with your left hand. You want gravity to force the lens down into your hand. Holding the lens in any other way, gravity is trying to force the lens out of your hand.

For cushioning purposes, use a rubber eye cup. This acts like a shock absorber to help minimize or eliminate any movement from your head and will prevent a lot of soreness over and around your eye.

Don’t poke at the shutter release. Moving your finger up and down will introduce vibration into the camera and sharpness goes out the window. You want to rest your finger on the shutter release at all times and then slightly roll it unto the shutter release to actually fire the camera.

Finally, all of this takes practice, practice and more practice.

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