Biggest portrait and event photography mistakes – Tutorial #1 Tips on helping to stop blurry im

July 25, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Hi guys, well it has been a while since my last tutorials so welcome to this new series of Tutorial Blog posts . . .

The biggest Portrait & Event Photography mistakes.

How many times do you see on social media that people have taken photos at a family get together, an event or even selfies and they are simply average (or DreadFul)!

Check out this post and the whole series to come. Read on & practice and you can soon overcome the few simple technical problems you have now and you can start to make some stunning images:

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 1.24.28 pm *(Eyes image courtesy of cthenry.wordpress.com)

Blurry images are probably the biggest photo problem that people have especially at night, indoors or in low light (take a closer look at a lot of images on social media and see what I mean). This is one problem that can be overcome with a little more knowledge of your camera settings and the location that you are in at the time.

 

Read on and pick a few points to change, and you may just benefit big time!

Why am I getting unwanted blur in my images?

Blurry pics are generally a result of not enough light getting to your cameras sensor (your sensor sits behind the lens and does a similar job of the film negative in the old days, only digitally. It soaks up light and colour and turns that in to an image with the help of your cameras processor).

If you have your camera set to Portrait or Auto or you’re using a phone camera it may just select a really low shutter speed for your shot thinking its going to let more light in over a longer period, and if there is movement in the scene (or your shaky hand) . . . well the rest is history, blurry photo!

Blurry photos can be easily solved if you think about your photo, the light and your surroundings for JUST a few seconds!

How do I stop getting unwanted blur in my photos?

  • KNOW THE SETTINGS ON YOUR CAMERA (and yes even your phone). Learn them, they are there to help you get great shots! Check the settings on your camera before you go out or while there is not much going on.
  • Choose an area with enough light and if possible move your subject to a nicely lit spot with a nice background. There needs to be enough light on your actual subject not just the background.
  • Make sure that you select a higher ISO speed if in low light. This will help your camera to PUSH the available light to the max and read more light in to your sensor, don’t overdo it though, an ISO of say 400-800 may be just enough to help get that extra sensitivity in to the sensor.
  • Choose a shutter speed of at least 60th of a second. If you are using a camera with a zoom or long lens you may even need faster that this. (If using a long zoom or focal length of say 200mm you may need to use a shutter speed around 200th/second to keep your subject in focus). Rule of thumb is generally use the same number for your Shutter speed, as the focal length of your lens (as an easy guide).
  • Use a tripod if possible or even lean on something or against an object (a table, a post, a wall) to steady your hand and the camera.
  • If you have image stabilization or lens stabilization or similar on your camera then turn it on, and leave it on! (this is even available on some new smartphones now).
  • Use a little flash if need be, but try getting creative and if possible bounce your flash off a wall or ceiling or even a friend wearing a white shirt (yes really it works)!! Get someone else to use a small piece of white card to do this if you have a fixed flash.
  • With flash you can also get a piece of napkin, tissue, greaseproof paper etc (as long as its white) before you leave home and tape it to the front of your flash. You can even buy various little cheap soft light modifiers off ebay that work better than nothing, this just helps to keep the flash lighting a little soft for your portraits (more on this in another post).
  • Get your subject to stand still if possible (adult portraits are relatively easy, not so much are kids, pets or racing cars)! Work with what you have.
  • The final tip is to check the aperture or f stop number if possible. This is the size of the lens opening (the Aperture). If you want a greater distance in focus then increase the number of the f such as f8 rather than f2.8 (this will also decrease dramatically how much light enters the lens though so don’t overdo it). More on Aperture values in another post.

Photo of the National Wine Centre in Adelaide by Commercial Photographer Andrew Barre Photography

*(Barrel image taken at The National Wine Centre Adelaide by Andrew Barre Photography)

 

GOOD LUCK! (READ your camera manual and PRACTICE LOTS OK)!

If you’re stuck on anything leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help out.

You can also contact me at:

Andrew Barre Photography

Commercial Photographer, Event Photographer & Creative Portrait Photographer – Based in Adelaide South Australia

Web: www.andrewbarrephotography.com.au

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Andrew.Barre.Photography

 



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