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How to take sharp photos

A few friends who bought DSLR’s recently asked me for some tips on how to get sharp images. Here are the tips I gave them.

A tripod is a must!

If you’re going for absolute sharpness always use a tripod! The tripod will hold the camera much more steadily than you can eliminating camera shake when the photo is taken. You can even use a shutter release cable or the cameras timer function to take this one step further.

Mirror lock up mode

Some cameras offer a mirror lock up mode… this mode first pulls up the mirror in your camera before it takes the photo. This is good because when the mirror snaps back it can cause blurring in some situations. I used this mode when taking photographs of fireworks to stop the mirror blurring the lines of the fireworks.

Use a fast shutter speed

Try and use a fast shutter speed where possible. There are two reasons for this, firstly if your hand holding your camera a fast shutter speed will suffer less from camera shake. Secondly if you’re taking a photo of something that’s moving fast the fast shutter speed will help to freeze the action and keep the image sharp.


When choosing your aperture be aware of depth of field. If you’re using a low f-number aperture then the depth of field will be much shallower. For example if your taking a photo of someone and you also want the background in sharp focus, a low f-number of say f1.8 would result in the person being in focus and the background blurred out of focus. Depending on available light try using a higher f-number to capture more detail.


  • Use a tripod.
  • Use a shutter release cable or timer function.
  • Use mirror lock up mode in some situations.
  • Use a fast shutter speed if possible.
  • Don’t use a low f-number, unless you want to get blurry depth of field.

Chris Thornton