Important tips for preventing Camera Shake and Blur
The right shutter speed- Always use the shutter speed in proportion to the focal length of your lens when the camera is hand held. And never at lower than 1/60th sec. There is always the camera shake and at speeds lower than this, it is long enough to get recorded on the film/sensor. With longer focal length the camera shake is more and so is the magnification of the camera shake.Tripod- If you need to use slower shutter speeds always use a steady tripod. For very slow shutter speeds or critical shots one may even use the mirror lock up option along with the self timer. Mirror lock up will raise the mirror before the actual exposure avoiding the vibrations caused by the mirror movement. self timer avoids any vibration which our finger may cause. remember, tripod only takes care of the camera movement and not the subject movement. To freeze that, higher shutter speed is the only option. If using the tripod is too cumbersome one may even use a monopod for slow but relatively higher shutter speed. A monopod may work well for a shutter speed of 1/15th or 1/30th os sec but not for 5 secs. A monopod avoids the vertical downward movement but does not restrict the sideways movement.Image stabilization and Vibration reduction- These are the features in the new lenses and some cameras which reduce the effect of the camera shake to quite a large extent. One can shoot hand held at a relatively slower shutter speeds. This again cannot avoid or reduce the subject movement. A tripod avoids the camera shake where as IS or VR system avoids the effect of the camera shake.
ISO- Sometimes if you do not have any other means like a tripod or an IS lens increasing the ISO may be the only alternative. Higher ISOs are more sensitive towards the light enabling you to use a higher shutter speed. At times in low light situation if the subject is moving too fast you may incerase the ISO to freeze the action. Tripod as mentioned earlier cannot freeze the subject movement. remmember that an incerase in ISO incerases the noise as well. However the new generation digital cameras are much better in terms of noise at higher ISO.
FLASH- Flash can be added to freeze the subject movement even when a slower shutter speed is being used otherwise. Since the duration of the burst of flash is very brief and the manin source of exposing the subject it acts simmilar to using a high shutter speed. If the shutter speed is too low the ambient light may influence the photograph along with the frozen effect of the flash
Also very important is how you hold and grip the camera- you should be in the most stable position when taking a picture. hold your breath or wait for a while if you have just run across to reach the spot.
Sometimes it is actually desirable to add blur to you pictures or to a a part of them for a more dramatic effect or to convey a feeling of movement to it. In panning shots, the background is actually blurred to show the speed.
It wont have been a good idea to blur the train movement
Use a Tripod - A tripod can be a photographer's best friend. Use a tripod whenever you can. Not only it will reduce the chance of a camera shake but also help you compose better as it limits your movement.
Shutter speed should be the reciprocal of the focal length - When taking handheld shots one should make sure that the shutter speed is more than the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens. The more tele we are shooting more is the chance of a camera shake. For example, a shutter speed of more than 1/300 is essential to avoid a shake when shooting at 300mm. Such a long lens is longer in size and the centre of gravity is quite away making it less stable. Also as a tele lens magnifies the image it magnifies any blur as well.
Camera grip and body stance - One should get a firm and right grip of the camera. Use your right hand to get a firm grip of the camera and slightly put your index finger on the shutter button. Also one can wrap the camera strap around the right hand. With your left hand support the camera from below the lens.
Body posture can also prevent a camera shake - When shooting keep your arms near your upper body and spread your legs shoulder width apart to get a good balance. When taking pictures of objects lower than you, squat and bend down on your knees. Also keep your back straight while shooting.
Breathing properly - When we press the shutter button then one should hold their breath. Taking a long deep breath before pressing the shutter button is a good idea. Also do not move immediately after releasing the shutter as exposure may not be over and can create a blur.
Use objects for support - At times it is not possible to use a tripod, we can use other objects on the shoot location. Like a wall or a table or something stable. This will prevent camera shake and blur.
Use a faster shutter speed - The blur may not be always be because of the camera shake. It could be due to subject's fast motion as well. To freeze the subject we should use a fast shutter speed. If the light is less for a faster shutter speed we could increase the ISO or open up the aperture. If none of these is possible then we can also underexpose the shot and get the details out in a RAW converter; but we need to be shooting in RAW mode for this.
Flash - A flash can supplement light in case of low light and help freeze the action thus reducing blur and shake. Since the duration of the flash is very brief it acts like a very high shutter speed. As the exposure in a very high shutter speed is for very brief period the exposure in case of the flash is also for a very brief period. However, if there is enough ambient light as well and a slow shutter speed is being used along with the flash, it may result in the frozen sharp image of the flash along with a ghost image formed due to the ambient light exposure.
Lens Type-While using a tele lens a slight camera movement can result in a blur. This is because we are zooming in on a very small and far area. This blur is not noticeable when using a wide angle lens as everything in the image is small and less magnified.
More about Camera Shake
Whenever photographers get together, one of the inevitable topics of conversation is each shooter’s prowess at hand-holding a camera for incredibly long exposures. Oddly enough, these same photographers might swear by an emerging camera-steadying technology known as image stabilization.
“I get razor-sharp images at 1/30 of a second, even with telephoto lenses!” one boasts. “I can squeeze off shots at 1/4 of a second with no problem!” another counters. “I have a special technique for bracing my arms that lets me take time exposures of up to 2 seconds without a tripod!” a third asserts, leaving the others to wonder whether he’s joking or just filled with braggadocio.
No matter how experienced a photographer you are, and whether you apply arcane breath-control and body-steadying practices to your techniques, you only think you’re steady enough to shoot long exposures with short lenses, and reasonably long exposures with telephotos.
In the sections that follow, you can find out some of the common myths about camera shake, identify the point where you really need to switch from hand-held shots to a tripod, diagnose shake-related problems in your photos, and discover ways to fix those problems.
In camera-shake lore, you might have come across two misleading assumptions:
If you don’t see the shake, it isn’t there. The slowest shutter speed at which you think you can reliably shoot sharp images is probably the speed at which you can’t detect the blurriness that appears at normal levels of enlargement. Crop a small section out of the center or make a huge enlargement, and you can probably see the difference. You can likely make a surprising number of your shots sharper if you use a tripod.
Use a shutter speed that’s the reciprocal of the lens’s focal length.
For example, 1/250 of a second with a 250mm lens. This advice is more
of a rough guideline than a rule because it doesn’t take into account the crop factor that some dSLRs produce. Your 250mm lens is effectively
a 400mm lens if your camera has a 1.6X crop factor. No, you’re not multiplying the focal length of the lens (as I emphasize over and over), but you are filling the frame with less subject area, magnifying any camera shake, just like if you made an 8-x-10-inch print rather than a 4-x-6-inch print.
Some people are shakier than others, so a 1/400 of a second shutter speed that one photographer can use successfully might be woefully inadequate for another photographer. To figure out the point where you personally need to switch from hand-held shots to using a tripod, see the following section.
It goes without saying, of course, that this discussion deals with blurriness caused only by camera/photographer shake. Blurs derived from moving objects is another issue entirely — although you can fix them, too, by using higher shutter speeds.
Everyday solution to avoid camera shake
After you determine your minimum practical shutter speed for hand-holding (keeping in mind that this speed can vary because of lens focal length and other factors), you can attempt to sharpen your photos. To cease the shakes, try using
Higher shutter speeds
Better shooting ergonomics (meaning brace yourself)
Physical aids, such as tripods, monopods, or beanbags