Someone had been looking over one of my portfolios of photographs and made an interesting comment. “These pictures are really sharp. How did you do that?”

The answer is pretty simple. I use a high quality tripod and I use a remote shutter release. And, if the exposure warrants, I will lock the mirror of the camera. All intended to minimize camera vibration and get the sharpest possible image.

The two pictures below show the difference between a handheld shot and an exposure shot with a tripod. Even with a lower resolution jpeg file, it is very clear which shot is the sharper of the two.

I do shoot handheld of course. There are times when it is impractical to carry a tripod. I use the following tips to get as much sharpness as possible.

Good handheld technique. My left hand supports the lens and my right hand holds the camera. I breath in and hold my breath when I click. And I click as gently as I can.

Shutter speed. I do not shoot at shutter speeds below the inverse of the focal length of the lens that I am using. If my lens is 80mm then I stay at shutter speeds greater than 1/80 sec.

Image stabilization. Some lenses offer image stabilization. They can help when shooting handheld. Just remember to turn them off when using a tripod.

Professional quality camera lenses generally offer the sharpest capture. I use the best possible glass when I am taking pictures.

The best tip though is to use a tripod. And a remote release. And mirror lock-up if your camera supports this feature.

Tripod or no tripod

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