- What Is a Sharp Photo?
- How To Take Sharp Photos - Hold It!
- How To Take Sharp Photos - Stay In Focus
- How To Take Sharp Photos - Clean Up Equipment
- How To Take Sharp Photos - Clean Up Files
- Displaying Your Sharp Photos
- Recommended Photography Gear
- Automotive Photography Tips
- Why Metal Prints are Great for Landscape Photos
- A Beginner’s Guide to Acrylic Prints
- What are Acrylic Prints?
- Beginner Landscape Photography Tips and Techniques
- How To Grow Your Photography Business
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Most of you have already learned the basics of how to get nice photos from your photographic gear, whether it’s a smartphone, entry-level camera, or a more advanced setup. How to get sharp photos consistently is a concern that can be addressed with a few easy steps.
All of these steps for how to take sharp photos can be implemented regardless of the type of camera you have or what level of photographer you are. The capability of your equipment is only limited by how capable and interested you are as a photographer.
After taking those sharp photos, you’ll want to show them off. I'll show a way to do that, too. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
What Is a Sharp Photo?
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When considering how to take sharp photos, you may wonder what makes someone say, ‘that’s a sharp photo’ in the first place. Sharpness can involve contrast, focus, and sensor resolution, but technique and consistent care also are part of the equation.
You may look at a portrait by Yousuf Karsh or a landscape by Ansel Adams and see their mastery of contrast and exposure, but that’s only part of the story of such an image, a fact they would’ve told you themselves.
The resolving power of the medium used (film or digital), the lens, and multiple photography techniques get added, subtracted, multiplied, and all the other math metaphors of photography impact how ‘sharp’ the final displayed image may appear to be.
I’m assuming you have a high-quality camera and lens (or lenses) and know how to use it, so instead of discussing sensor sizes and resolutions and prime lenses vs zooms and so on, let’s examine four techniques or disciplines you can use regardless of what equipment you have.
How To Take Sharp Photos - Hold It!
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A killer mistake in how to take sharp photos is not holding the camera still. The camera or lens may have all sorts of image stabilization, but keeping the camera still is a fundamental skill all photographers should learn early on.
Browsing through some Kodak literature from before I was born that I grabbed at an estate sale shows the same technique for hand-holding a camera I learned myself as I started getting serious in photography.
Here’s a description that covers the basics: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Put one foot slightly ahead of the other, whichever feels comfortable and natural. Hold the camera in your right hand. Hold it firmly but don’t squeeze tight. With the left hand, cradle underneath the lens. Keep your elbows close to your torso and bring the camera to eye level.
While cradling the lens, you can use your thumb and forefinger to focus or zoom the lens without losing support. When it’s time to take the exposure or snap the shutter, gently press down on the shutter release. This works best with an eye-level viewfinder, but you can also adapt it using a rear viewscreen.
Tripods and other camera mounts are excellent tools for ultra-sharp photos. Eliminating camera movement is essential when using deep depth of field smaller apertures which means longer shutter speed times. Any HDR techniques or ND filters would likewise have you using a tripod or mount.
How To Take Sharp Photos - Stay In Focus
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Focus is another issue that can adversely affect your image sharpness. Sometimes, autofocus needs some input or perhaps an override to manual focus. It depends on what you want in and out of focus in your photos.
Learning to take sharp photos doesn’t mean you can’t use any automation, whether focus or exposure. It simply means you should know how and when to take over for yourself. This can be done by specifying what AF points your camera is using and also by changing the lens aperture for either deep depth of field or selective focus.
How To Take Sharp Photos - Clean Up Equipment
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A dirty window is hard to see through, and so is a lens with smudges, dirt, dust, fingerprints, or moisture on the front element. Part of how to take sharp photos is to keep that lens clean. A dirty sensor will mess you up, too.
I like to clean my equipment periodically and both before and after a job or a photo trek. Front and rear lens elements should be cleaned regularly, and the camera sensor needs a periodic swipe as well. Keeping the camera body, bags, tripods, and other equipment clean helps us keep everything else clean.
How To Take Sharp Photos - Clean Up Files
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This is not an in-camera technique. It’s about post-processing. The final trick in a photographer’s skill bag is knowing how, when, and what to post-process. Even if you’re capturing JPEGs and not RAW files, the program’s ‘clean noise’ function sharpens everything up a tiny bit, which adds to the overall work of how to take sharp photos.
Cleaning up the digital noise is a very simple, one-button operation in almost every program I’ve seen, from the basic ones to a full-fledged Photoshop equivalent. If you are familiar with film and paper photography, I like to think of this operation as though I were smoothing out the grain in film that was already developed.
Displaying Your Sharp Photos
Now that you are comfortable with how to take sharp photos on a consistent basis, you’ll want to display them to their best advantage and show them off. A beautiful way to use all of the strengths of your sharp photographs is by making acrylic prints.
Here is a video from the Artbeat Studios YouTube channel that shows what goes into making an HD acrylic print. Artbeat Studios is a professional printing company that can really do justice to your images.
Artbeat StudiosArtbeat Studios has this printing method available, as well as metal prints and other types of material. Their HD Acrylic Prints are face mounted, which provides the sharpest view. Color and contrast are excellent, and the flat, stiff material can be mounted directly to a wall or displayed on a stand. The light gathering of the acrylic material adds to the visual appeal. Be sure to scroll down that page for the FAQs and some inside information concerning Artbeat Studios acrylic prints.
These four easy steps for how to take sharp photos will provide you with what you need to know and do to get sharp photos.