Why are my photos blurry?

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Are you wondering why you’re getting blurry photos?

When I say blurry, I mean motion blur…where the subject looks like a moving ghost and the photo isn’t sharp.

The quick answer is that your shutter speed is too slow.

Let me explain it more detail..

Go get your camera right now. Pull up an image of a blurry shot you took.
Take a look at the screen on the back of the camera. Now turn on the the information on the image where it shows the settings of image taken.
Do you see numbers that look something like 1/10, 1/30, 1/50 or 1/200? That represents shutter speed.

If you handhold the camera and the shutter speed is 1/5, 1/30, 1/40 or below, then any little movement by you or your subject is going to cause a blurry image.


Because there’s a shutter inside your camera that open and closes. While it opens it lets light in the sensor of the camera in order to produce an image. The “Click-click” sound when you take a photo is the sound of the shutter opening and closing. But if there’re any movement by the camera or subject while the shutter is open that movement is being captured which result in a blurry image.

Let me show you.
Put your camera in manual mode by turning the dial at the top to “M”.
Then dial the shutter speed up to 1/200, 1/500, 1/1250 or any high number.
Take a photo.
Don’t even look at how the image looks. Just listen for the shutter sound.
A fast “click-click”, right?
Now dial it down to 1/5 or 1/10 then take a photo.
“click…pause…click”. Slower, right?

So what’s the solution?

You can do one or more of the following:

-Make sure you’re holding your camera properly and steady

-Increase the aperture = Use a wide aperture(lower number means wider the aperture. i.e. f2.0 is wider than f3.5 and f3.5 is wider than f5.6) : If you use a wider aperture, it’s letting more light into the camera which allows you to increase your shutter speed.

-Increase the ISO to 800, 1600 or higher if your camera allows: This also allows you to increase shutter speed

If you’ve done both of these and your photo is still too dark, then you’re in a really dark place with not enough light.

Your option are:

-Use a tripod while using a slow shutter speed: If your subject doesn’t move, you’ll get a sharp photo. 

-Use a flash(you may not want to but it’s an option)

If you’re ever in a situation where you have no choice but to use a slow shutter speed like 1/50 or below then here’s a little tip for you. Focus on the subject, hold your breath, be as steady as you can, put elbows on a table, put your back again a wall, anything you can be be steady, put your camera in burst mode if you know how, and take 3 or 4 shots consecutively as fast as you can. One of the images will likely turn out sharper than the others.
blurry photos

If  I’m shooting handheld, I try to keep my shutter no slower than than 1/60. This rule doesn’t apply in all situations because it also depends on what kind of lens you’re using but from experience anything slower than 1/50 results in some kind of blurriness.

Real life practice like this will help you understand the relationship between ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture better. So don’t be discouraged and keep practicing. You’ll get it soon.

Let me know if you have questions.

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