10 Handheld Moves To Give You Great Shots Without a Gimbal

While gimbals are a staple of videography these days, in-camera image stabilization (IBIS) has improved to a level that with a bit of know-how, you can get great shots handheld too. Here are ten different styles of shots you can create without a gimbal.

Over the years as a photographer, I have picked up a number of tips and tricks for shooting stills in low light or when I would typically need a tripod. Sometimes you just couldn't set up a tripod or you have to keep moving, so you needed to find a way to drag the shutter slightly, but keep the image crisp and without motion blur. Over the last decade or so, however, ISO performance has become so efficient and powerful that the times in which you'd need to do this are far less common than they once were. Nevertheless, many of these tips and tricks have made their way over to videography.

Typically, when I'm shooting video, I'll just use a gimbal, but there are occasions where shooting handheld is necessary. This video by Thomas Alex Norman (a YouTuber and videographer who is quickly becoming one of my favorite content creators) goes through ten different camera moves that can be performed handheld but give you great results, that generally do not look handheld. One of the techniques is exactly like the one I used to use for photography in low light: you put the camera strap around your neck, pull it taut, and then press your elbows against your sides while holding the camera in both hands. This creates enough points of contact that your hand movements — which while often imperceptible to the eye, are painfully obvious in the footage — all but disappear. Sometimes this sort of shot is preferred to a gimbal for stylistic reasons too, as it adds a rougher, more realistic feel.

Rob Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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i love all the 10 tips

Hope Sony keeps including gyro data in all cameras... That's a huge reason post stabilization works well with the A7sii.. 🙂