How to Conquer Blurry Photos

Achieving tack-sharp focus is a fundamental skill every photographer strives for. Whether you're capturing portraits, landscapes, or fast-paced action, understanding the causes of blur and how to avoid them is crucial for creating impactful images. 

Coming to you from Andrew Boey with Beyond Photography, this insightful video dives deep into the world of blurry photos, exploring the two primary culprits: focus and motion. Boey meticulously breaks down the common mistakes that lead to out-of-focus images, offering practical solutions and demonstrating techniques to ensure your subjects are always sharp. 

The video explains various focus-related issues, such as incorrect focus point selection, misunderstanding autofocus modes, and the limitations of minimum focusing distance. Boey emphasizes the importance of utilizing features like eye autofocus and the focus lock technique to achieve precise focus on your desired subject. He also clarifies the distinctions between autofocus modes like AFS (single) and AFC (continuous), highlighting their appropriate applications for static versus moving subjects. 

Beyond focus, the video tackles the challenge of motion blur, both from camera shake and subject movement. Boey introduces the concept of shutter speed and its relationship to capturing sharp images, providing a helpful formula based on lens focal length to determine the minimum shutter speed needed to avoid camera shake. Additionally, he explains how to adjust ISO and aperture settings to achieve faster shutter speeds for freezing action, ensuring crisp results even with fast-moving subjects. 

Understanding these concepts and applying the techniques demonstrated in the video will empower you to take control of your camera settings and consistently capture sharp, impactful photographs. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Boey.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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One way to avoid blur due to camera motion is to HOLD THE $%# CAMERA PROPERLY. Skip ahead to 9:00 to see exactly how NOT to hold a camera. He calls this "correct posture". He then goes on to correct himself at 9:30 when he says holding the camera out in front of you is "very wobbly" but doesn't demonstrate a proper standing posture.

It seems to me he's holding the camera out front so the video camera can show what's on the camera's LCD to the viewer. In practice, the example shots were probably take via the viewfinder.

He has some pretty bad advice with AF-C. With modern and somewhat modern mirrorless, AF-C is faster and more accurate than AF-S. He says AF-C is only for fast moving subjects. So, false. He uses the below as an example where the camera focused on the people walking in the background. The only ways this could have happened is if he forced the focus in that area; or if he was too close to the subject; or the camera could not detect the subject. Even without using Face/Eye AF, by design, cameras will focus to the closest object.

Also, his statement that LCDs consume more battery is not entirely true. EVFs typically consume more than LCDs. However, like everything else, there's usually an exception. In the below group of cameras, only the Panasonic S5 gets better battery with the EVF.