Tag Archives: Fingers

Handshake blur – do your shots suffer?

Handshake Blur Problems?

• Handshake Blur Problems? •
It is so easy to lose sharpness in your shot because your hands make tiny movements. There are simple ways to fix it. Here’s how…

Handshake blur – a cause of blurred shots.

It is not the only cause of blur, but it is more common than most learners think. Handshake blur is a devil in the camera. Or is it?

In auto modes, most of the time, the camera will cope and help keep your shots sharp. When you get more advanced and start to use manual modes then the problems arise. Most people are perplexed – their shots appear to be getting more blurred as they get more advanced. What is causing this handshake blur?

Auto modes limit your photography

Auto modes are set up to average out the conditions you encounter to give you a “reasonable” result every time. The auto mode is set up to compensate for your handshake blur. It will tend toward higher-than-necessary shutter speed for example. That will help you to freeze the shot, cutting the handshake blur. When you encounter more challenging shots the camera cannot produce the results that manual modes produce.

As you advance you want to start doing things that give you more creative control. This is when manual modes help you. However, working the camera appears to become more technical. In fact it is just responding to more sensitive settings – the ones you choose. What you may not realise is that your camera holding, stance and breathing have an impact. You need to be more sensitive to those when you hold the camera. Take everything into account – personal body movement and breathing.

Toward a handshake blur cure…

Handshake blur is quite a technical problem. The camera manufacturers have been working to improve the response to handshake blur for years. Image stabilising mechanisms are built to help reduce handshake blur problems. Good ones can reduce it a right down. And, you need to work on it too. So how do you stop the problem?

There are three basic responses to handshake blur…

  • Increase shutter speed freeze the picture in time. If the shutter is open for a shorter time your hand has less opportunity to move. Then, blur is reduced.
  • Improve the way you hold your camera. The basic hand position is one hand under the lens and one hand holding the body ready to push the shutter button.
  • Improve your stance and breathing. Your body is acting as a tripod. If you are wobbly, so will your shot be! A practiced stance, will help your stability.

You can read my guide to a good stance and breathing techniques in “Simple tips for a good stance”.

There is another response that’s hardly ever mentioned… but it’s extraordinarily important. Most advanced photographers never mention this. They don’t think it is a problem. Working mostly with beginners I know it can be a huge issue. The problem is…
Muscle tone/strength
…even fit people suffer from weakness with a camera at first. I find that disabled people and older people are more sensitive too. Handshake blur can have a big impact on anyone. It is not something to worry about though.

Cameras are quite heavy – especially DSLRs. They are also unbalanced – long lenses make them more-so. People who are not regular camera holders do not develop the fine muscular control and strength needed to hold a camera and use it.

Sure, one or two shots are OK. If you are on a longish shoot, even tough men find they are unaccustomed to the position and control of a DSLR. Your shots slowly lose sharpness as you get tired. Through a whole day handshake blur can be a real issue.

If you are fit, and if you hold a camera a lot you will find your muscle tone and control improves. So will your control over handshake blur. You don’t have to do weights or go to the gym, although that will help. All you have to do is to carry your camera around and use it regularly. Not too much of a problem! The practice will put strength in your arms, shoulders, fingers and hands. Before long you will be steadier with a camera, reduce that handshake blur and improve the sharpness – a lot.

If you are disabled, have problems holding the camera, or suffer from weakness a chest harness can help. Check out DIY Camera Chest Harness for Weak Hands & Arms

Handshake blur… a video

In this video Mike Browne shows us the things I have mentioned above (except the muscle tone part) and how to put them into practical use.

Uploaded by Mike Browne  External link - opens new tab/page

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Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Simple ideas about using hands to capture the eye

"Time may give you more than your poor bones could ever take" by Janine Young, on Flickr

"Time may give you more than your poor bones could ever take"
by Janine Young, on Flickr
"Time may give you more than your poor bones could ever take"
by Janine Young, on FlickrExternal link - opens new tab/page

To catch the eye, capture emotion…

…something you can do with hands. They are so expressive. We rely on them for communication and they can evoke a lot of emotion. Here are some ideas to get you started photographing them.

What to look for

To find the maximum impact with hands you need to look for common gestures that we all know. The ones that convey something powerful. Giving, receiving, accepting, soothing, feeling, experiencing, sharing, reaching… I am sure you get the idea. So how do we do that? Well, we need to find ways to put the hands in those expressive positions we all know. Then, to complete the picture, place them in the context of something that sparks off our memory of something effective.

The joining of hands means a lot to all of us. A particular case in point is where protection is inferred. The feeling of security is so important to children. We know it when we see it and it invokes deep emotion…

• Hand By Hand • by mikeyarmish, on Flickr

• Hand By Hand • by mikeyarmish, on Flickr
• Hand By Hand • by mikeyarmish, on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page

When photographing special subjects, like hands, the power of the picture is enhanced by great composition. The slight tension created between the adult and child by the out-stretched hands is a strong message. It’s protection, but nearly ready to let go. That’s a special moment in our development, beautifully documented by that slight stretch. And, it is emphasised by the dynamic angle. Upward left-right angles/slopes in Western culture indicate dynamic, powerful, uplifting feelings.

It is so often the case in all forms of art that one can say such a lot with very little. I think of this as a sort of “light touch” in composition. The more you can imply and still convey the message the more you seem to be able to say.

• Limosna • by croqueta0, on Flickr

limosna by croqueta0, on Flickr
• Limosna • by croqueta0, on FlickrExternal link - opens new tab/page

We see only a little of the hand in the last picture. Yet, we all recognise it as an act of devotion. The power of the message is timeless, especially with the number of other burnt-out candles nearby. A great deal is implied in the image conjured up in the mind, but actually the statement is very slight in picture. The moodiness of the light level is all the more evocative of the occasion.

While just picturing the hands can be so expressive, we should not neglect the whole picture. In association with the rest of the body the hands play a vital part in communication. Look at how this self portrait obviously conveys personal feelings. The text gives you the depth of that feeling. I would have got the inner angst-of-teenager just from the hands and the expression (barely seen). The hands are part of the message. A lovely little story and simply told…

• You were sixteen when you fell in love • by Tangolarina, on Flickr

• You were sixteen when you fell in love • by Tangolarina, on Flickr
• You were sixteen when you fell in love • by Tangolarina, on FlickrExternal link - opens new tab/page

A charming little poem comes with the picture too. You can see it on the Flickr page  External link - opens new tab/page for this image.

Hands, like any other part of the body are open to photoshop activity. While slightly creepy, I like this next image. It shows us just how some standard signs can be so expressive. Clever work with the light and some nice cloning work too…

Hand meets Hands by PicVince, on Flickr

Hand meets Hands by PicVince, on Flickr
Hand meets Hands by PicVince, on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page

Finally, one should not underestimate the power of the hands to express the character of the subject. Old hands say so much about a persons life and inner strength…

• Hands of 87 years • by gaspi *yg, on Flickr

• Hands of 87 years • by gaspi *yg, on Flickr
• Hands of 87 years • by gaspi *yg, on FlickrExternal link - opens new tab/page

Hands can say it all…

In this short commentary I hope that I have shown some of the ways you can express a lot in your image. The power of hands is not just in their expression, but context, age, condition… and endless other things. I can think of many things that have been missed from this list – gloves, work, rings, nails… and many more. I hope that this has started you thinking about some images you could do with hands. I would love to see what you come up with. Send us some links… Contact Us

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.