Have you ever taken a photo of this once-in- lifetime moment? You know, the stars aligned…your sweet angel cooperated…the perfect smile was smiled…there were no boogers in, on, or around the nose…there was a twinkle in sweetness’ eye. That moment. As soon as you snapped the picture, your mind started racing about what you were going to do with that picture. Visions of Facebook adulation, prints and reprints, maybe a cutest kid’s contest entry, and envy-inducing holiday cards danced joyfully in your head. You pop the SD card in the computer and wait impatiently for the photos to upload to your computer. Then the moment arrives…you get to see the image in all of its glory. Then IT happens. Joy turns to catastrophic despair when you see the image of the year in all its BLURRY glory. Yup, YOUR photo…blurry. Crushing isn’t it? Ever cried over one of these duds? I have…more than once. I won’t lie…it hurts.
So how does this happen?
- Bad exposure is the usual villain in this story. And why was the exposure bad? Because it was too darn dark. Cameras are scared of the dark. They want light…light from outside or a window or light from the flash. Lack of light will always create blurry, grainy photos. If the lighting is good, your camera will take the picture faster which will stop any motion and reduce blur.
- Another culprit is camera shake. As in you were holding the camera, you moved causing a blurred effect. Here’s a free tip: consuming a 5 hour energy drink before taking pictures in not advisable. You couldn’t stop yourself from shaking even if you wanted to. It’s even in their slogan: 5 Hour Energy. Drink it in seconds. Feel it in minutes. Lasts for hours. Not recommended for drinking before taking pictures…okay I added the last little bit.
- Subject movement…little sweetness moves just as you are clicking the button and it causes blur. Depending on the age of your subject, this one is hard. Ever try to get a toddler to stand or sit still for more than a millisecond? Sometimes the odds are better at winning the lottery than making that happen. It can be done and sometimes you just have to be patient.
Do you throw your camera on the ground and stomp on it until it is in little pieces? I wouldn’t recommend that. Although there might be some therapeutic value in that, once you have calmed down your rage will turn to depression as you realize you just busted your camera into a billion pieces.
- Open the blinds or a door to let natural light into the room.
- Use the camera’s flash.
- Move your subject towards a light source.
- Depending on your camera, use a different mode such as action. This usually looks like a little guy running. This is meant for fast moving subjects like kids. It might be on a dial on your camera or buried in a menu. Look for him…It might just save your bacon.
Are you wondering why I didn’t suggest simply turning on the light in the room? You can do this, but I would advise you to be cautious. Most of the time, the lighting in our homes casts a yellow or orange ugliness in photos. You could end up with photos of people that have a very dark orange-y suntan. Use overhead lights in your home with caution.
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by Melissa Lloyd