How To Get Sharper Images
How do you fix a blurry image? This is a common question I receive from a lot of photographers that are just starting out.
If an image is too blurry there's not much you can do to fix it. But, I can show you how to stop getting blurry images and make your images sharp straight out of the camera.
There are a few common causes to blurry images, so be sure to see if any of these might apply to you.
Spot-Focus (Auto Focus)
One of the first things to check to make sure that your images are not out of focus would be to use the Spot Focus feature on your camera. The camera is still on auto focus but you decide where to put the point of focus so the camera will automatically set it. While a lot of more advanced cameras have multiple focus points, the center points are the most accurate. You can select the central focus point to focus, then press the AE lock and adjust your position for the composition of the picture.
For example, for portraits, I always set my focus on the eyes.
If you prefer not shooting in auto-focus mode, you can opt for manual focus to really be sure you are getting a sharp image; however, if your subjects are moving around, it may be hard to continually change and keep focus.
Back Button Focus
Many photographers swear by back button focusing and while it really is a matter of preference for photographers, here is the main reason for using it . .
By setting up the BBF (The AF button on the back of you dslr camera), you don't have to halfway press the shutter to try and hold focus. (sometimes this can throw off the focus). By holding down the AF (BBF) button, it turns on the continuous autofocus which frees your shutter to do only the one function of taking the picture all the while locking the focus.
(For this image, I made sure that my shutter speed was higher than usual so I would get them both in focus - Shot with 24-70mm f/3.2 iso 400 ss 2000 )
I am primarily a children and family photographer so my subjects are almost always on the move. I recommend keeping your shutter speed above 250 at the very minimum. The lower the shutter speed, the longer the shutter on your camera stays open which means you might grab the focus but if your subject moves within a split second, you will get a blurry image.
If you don't shoot in manual mode yet, this option is going to give you the most control with your camera and the settings. You can work your way towards shooting in manual mode by starting with Aperature Priority or Shutter Priority Mode. You can learn more about the camera basics here too.
Motion blur can also be caused by camera shake. I am a talker at my photo sessions, so I have learned that if I talk while I am taking pictures, I tend to get a little camera shake which makes my images slightly less sharp.
I have to remember to stop talking, hold my camera properly (one hand underneath my camera), and then take the picture. A tripod also helps immensely for those who have a hard time with camera shake.
If you are finding that your images are still blurry despite locking focus and having all your settings right (and you are shooting with a DSLR) , another thing to think about is Lens Calibration. There is a possibility that your lens may need to calibrated to your camera. I do know that both Nikon and Canon have a feature to fine tune the lens to your camera and you can get a do-it-yourself calibration kit, here is an example of one.
If your images are sharp but they get a little blurred or distorted when re-sizing to post on social media, I created a small action that sharpens and re-sizes for the web here.
Want to improve your photos faster?
Try our Camera Basics course to learn how to capture better images. It includes shooting guides, video tutorials on manual camera settings and learning how to shoot professional portrait photography.
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