Getting Sharp Pictures Without a Tripod

Use a fast shutter speed

Use the fastest shutter speed that you can. The longest shutter speed that will guarantee pin sharp images is 1/60. Some people will claim that they can get sharp images at 1/30 or even 1/15 – don’t listen to them.

Consider your lens

The focal length of your lens is important – the longer the focal length, the faster the shutter speed needs to be to ensure a steady hand. A good rule of thumb is to choose a minimum shutter speed which is equivalent to 1/focal length. So a 100mm lens needs a shutter speed of 1/100 whereas a 400mm lens needs one of 1/400 and so on

Go faster if you can

Try to err on the side of caution and choose an even faster shutter speed where you can. The problem is that the longer the focal length, the smaller the maximum aperture is likely to be thus restricting your choice of shutter speed. The bigger the aperture you choose the faster the shutter speed you can use.

Action requires it even faster

Fast cars, trains, lorries; people moving, running, jumping; animals, waves, trees in the wind – these all require you to be even more careful as the shutter speed required to freeze movement is already relatively fast. Just rack up the speed to the fastest the camera will allow. The shorter the focal length and the wider the aperture, the more successful you will be in freezing movement.

Stand steadfast

Posture is important. If you cannot get a fast shutter speed (in relation to your lens) then choose an appropriate stance when taking your pictures. Lean against a building, wall or fence if you can. Stand with legs apart and brace your elbows against your sides. If it is windy, wait for a lull.

Try and rest your camera or lens against something solid and hold it firmly. And ensure it is well braced against your forehead.

Breathe and be gentle

Take a deep breath and hold it when you click the shutter release. And when you do take the picture, make slow and smooth movements. No sudden stabs or jerks.

Remember – ISO is your friend

Most cameras allow you to change the ISO setting. The bigger the ISO you set, the faster the shutter speed you can choose. You will get more “noise” or “grain” in your images but it can mean the difference between a half decent picture no picture at all.

Tripod alternatives

Even if you haven’t got a tripod, it is worth considering a minipod or monopod. These are no substitute for a decent tripod but they are small, light and inexpensive. Another great piece of equipment is a small beanbag. This can be placed on a surface and will mould to the shape of the camera when it is placed on it.

Remote is best

If you can use a cable release or an infrared remote release then do so. Or, when the camera is steady, using the self timer will allow shutter release without you manhandling the camera.

Don’t underestimate the importance of good technique and style. You will get better pictures by following simple and commonsense steps such as those outlined above.

Info of Silhouette Photo

In the area of photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background. More specifically, it is where your subject appears as a plain black shape against a brighter background. It is an artistic photography expression that many photographers like to refine and perfect in their images. This effect can be achieved with any bright light source with the sun being the most common. In a sunset silhouette photo, the sunlight in the background is exposed correctly forcing everything else in the photo to be underexposed causing the effect.

When you are preparing to take a silhouette image, there are many things to keep in mind. These tips are equally effective for both digital and film photography. First of all, you need to make sure that there is not too much light on your subject, even if it is being reflected on to your subject the stray light will ruin the effect. If there is not enough light in the background, your subject will appear grey instead of black. The effect is just multiplied when you have multiple colors of bright lights in the background. Some photographers focus on artificial lights, others focus on the sun at certain times of the day, the possibilities are endless.

I usually take my silhouette images when the sun is just above the horizon. I prefer the time around sunset because the sun causes the sky to be brighter than everything else for greater contrast. Another technique I use is to align the sun directly behind the subject so it causes a glow effect around the main subject. I usually use a relatively big subject so it creates a more drastic effect then a small insignificant subject.

I always use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) so the camera captures the whole scene with a high depth of field so everything is in focus. I usually use the aperture manual mode on my camera so I can control what the aperture will be and then the camera automatically selects the right shutter speed necessary for the photo. If you are trying to create the effect with a point-and-shoot camera make sure you compose the photo with the background light by pointing the camera at the background. If you compose the image by pointing the camera at your dark subject, then the background will be over-exposed and you will not end up with a silhouette.