Avoiding Blurry Photos

Have you ever taken a picture that turned out blurry?

Don’t worry, all of us have.

Sometimes blur can be used as an effect in your photographs to show motion or make a more abstract looking image, but when you don’t want blur in your pictures and it continually shows up it can be frustrating. Here is some digital photography help to ssist you in figuring out why you may be getting blurry pictures so you can get pictures that look clean and crisp.


When you take a picture you need to consider your ISO setting. The ISO determines how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. When you’re taking pictures in a bright well lit situation, like on a sunny day, you should set your ISO to a low number like 100. If you’re taking a picture indoors you may want to set your ISO to a higher number like 400 to increase the sensor’s sensitivity to light. When you’re taking a picture in a low light situation you may want to increase it even further to 1600.

These settings will allow you to take pictures in various lighting situations. If you set your camera ISO to 100 and try to take a picture in a low light situation your shutter will have to be open for too long to get the necessary amount of light on the sensor. The longer your shutter is open the more blur you’ll get in your picture from the movement of the subject or from the movement of the camera.

Though it’s important to set your ISO to a level that will allow for shorter shutter speeds to capture motion don’t get into the bad habit of always setting it high. When I first started taking pictures back in the old days of film photography I always bought 400 speed film. (Film speeds correspond with ISO settings.) I did this because I thought that it was better because I could use in on sunny days and inside, but there is a problem with this solution.

The higher your ISO or the faster your film the more noise or grain will show up in your picture. If you’re setting your ISO unnecessarily high you’ll end up with a picture that’s full of noise. For good quality pictures, you want your pictures to be clear, clean and crisp. To get this you must have your ISO set at the lowest possible setting you can use while still getting a picture with no blur.

Experiment with your ISO settings to find out what works best for the situations you take pictures in the most.

Shutter Speed

If you still need digital photography help to get rid of the blur in your pictures here’s another tip for you. Shutter speed is another important element to stopping unwanted blur. If your shutter is staying open for a long time the movement of the subject and even the movement of the camera will cause blurriness in the picture.

I’ve mentioned before that I take a lot of pictures at small concerts. When I first decided I would try taking pictures in these situations I was constantly getting blurry pictures and couldn’t figure out why. The secret to remedying this situation was setting my camera to shutter priority mode.

Shutter speed settings are shown in fractions. A shutter speed of 1/1000 means the shutter is open for 1000th of a second. That’s pretty fast.

On a bright day you can use very fast shutter speeds to effectively stop motion, but as you have less light available you may have to use a slower shutter speed. I’ve found that if I’m trying to take pictures in low light situations with my camera set on auto mode the camera will usually not set itself in a way that can capture motion without blur. When I’m in these situations I use shutter priority mode to set the shutter speed to as fast as I need it. With the ISO and shutter speed set manually the camera will choose the aperture that will help you get the correct exposure.

My philosophy is to always experiment with various settings to find out what works best for you.

Camera Shake

The digital photography help you need may not involve camera settings at all. If you’re trying to take pictures with the shutter open for a long time and you’re having problems with blur, camera shake may be your issue. Camera shake refers to movement of the camera while taking the picture. The best way to prevent shake is to use a tripod. Tripods will keep your camera still so it doesn’t move while the shutter is open.

Using a remote shutter release will also help prevent camera shake. When you touch the camera to release the shutter the camera will move a bit.

If you don’t have a tripod on hand you should try to brace yourself when you’re taking the picture. Keep your arms in close to your body. If there is something you can rest your camera on like a wall or a tree branch try doing that to steady it. Sometimes I lean against a wall to keep myself steady when taking a picture. In extreme cases I may even hold my breath.