Are you struggling with camera shake? Do your photos turn out blurry whenever you hand-hold the camera?
You’re not alone.
Camera shake is a huge problem. It’s the reason why beginners (and even experienced photographers!) end up with soft, blurry, unwanted photos.
Fortunately, there are a few simple techniques you can use…
…to ensure that your photos never suffer from camera shake again!
So here are six simple techniques for avoiding camera shake and achieving crisp, delicious images – no matter what.
Let’s dive right in, starting with the very first technique:
1. Tuck your elbows in
This technique is simple, yet it really works.
Just pull your elbows in toward your body and let them rest against your chest.
(You can press your elbows firmly into your chest for even greater stability.)
It will give your arms a rock-solid foundation to work with so that your hands are utterly motionless.
And when you press the shutter button, you’ll have no camera shake to speak of.
Another quick tip:
Once you have your elbows tucked in, exhale completely before hitting the shutter.
Because even the slightest movement can cause unwanted shake, especially as you increase your shutter speed.
2. Raise your left shoulder
If you’re a right-eyed photographer, then you’ll need to shift to your left eye to use this technique. If you’re a left-eyed photographer, then you won’t need to change a thing!
Here’s what you do:
Raise your left shoulder high. Then brace your left elbow against your ribcage.
For further stability, you can pull your right elbow into your chest (as discussed in the previous technique).
Also, make sure you exhale completely before pressing the shutter button to avoid introducing additional camera shake.
3. Create a tripod with your knee
If you’re taking a photo low to the ground…
Or you don’t mind getting a little dirty…
Then this is the camera shake reduction technique for you!
And it’s pretty darn easy to pull off.
Simply sit down.
Bring your knee up.
Then rest your elbow on it, like this:
Again, bring in that other elbow for greater support.
You’re essentially creating your own tripod – so you have solid support wherever you go.
4. Lie down on the ground
In general, this is the most effective way to avoid camera shake without a tripod.
All you do is lie flat and let the lens sit directly on the ground.
To prevent any downward tilt of the camera, you can put a hand underneath the lens barrel or lens hood.
(If that doesn’t do the trick, you can always create a fist.)
In the first image, you’ll notice that I placed my hand flat against the cement and balanced the lens on top to give myself some height:
In the second image, I created a fist with my hand to give myself even more room to shoot.
Of course, this technique isn’t always feasible. If your subject is high off the ground, you’re probably not going to want to shoot from such a low angle.
(Imagine doing an engagement session while lying flat against the ground!)
Plus, lying on the ground can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re shooting on cement, in mud, in water, etc.
So work with this technique when you can, but don’t be afraid to use one of the other options on the list if need be.
5. The machine gun hold
This next technique is sometimes referred to as the machine gun hold, because you hold your camera like, well, a machine gun.
Personally, I don’t use this technique much. I find it awkward and difficult to maintain for more than a second or two.
But just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. So give it a try and see what you think!
Here’s what you do:
Hold your camera to your eye with your right hand. Then raise your left elbow until your lens barrel can rest on it comfortably.
For added stability, place your left hand on your right bicep.
6. Cradle your camera
Here’s your final technique for reducing camera shake:
Cradle your camera!
As you can see, I crouched down and placed my left elbow on my knee.
Then I created a sort of cradle for the lens between my shoulder and my wrist.
It’s a pretty solid hold. Unfortunately, it’s tough to change positions once you’re cradling your lens, so the hold works best if you’re shooting an unmoving subject (e.g., a model during a portrait session).
Six techniques to reduce camera shake: conclusion
Well, there you have it!
You now know six simple techniques for reducing – or eliminating – camera shake.
And I can assure you that they work well; they’re the exact techniques that I myself use to avoid “The Shake.”
Now over to you:
Which of these techniques is your favorite? Have you tried any of them? Share your thoughts on camera shake – and camera shake reduction techniques – in the comments below!
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