My Top 5 Tips for Sharper Photography


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I've recently had a number of clients who have been struggling with the sharpness of their shots and have booked in 1-2-1 sessions on sharpness troubleshooting. There are 101 reasons why your shots may not be pin sharp, but some occur more frequently than others, so here are my top 5 tips on getting the sharpest wildlife photographs you can.

Fast enough shutter speed - when hand holding you camera make sure your shutter speed is faster than 1/focal length. You’ll need to up it even more for sprinting cheetah and birds in flight. In Aperture priority mode don’t forget that ISO, aperture and exposure compensation values all affect the shutter speed.

Focus Area - I use a movable single spot focus area 95% of the time for wildlife as I find it the most precise and accurate method of composing a shot and getting the eye of my subject sharp.

Back Button Focussing - I’ve lost count of the number of clients who have thanked me for changing them over to back button focussing. It’s a blog in itself, so I’ll write one in the coming weeks, but for now this method separates the shutter release and autofocus functions from one button to two. This means your camera doesn’t have to momentarily refocus each time a photograph is taken - genius for wildlife!

Stabilisation - be sure to use the correct mode of stabilisation on your lens (check your manufacturer as each has different modes) and if yours doesn't include automatic tripod detection remember to turn it off when you’re on a tripod.

Panning Technique - sharpness isn’t just about your kit and settings - keeping your camera steady and panning smoothly (moving your body and camera as one unit from the waist) at the same rate as your subject pays massive dividends.

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