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5 most common reasons for unsharp images

| March 12, 2010 | 2 Comments
Getting quite a bit of blurry shots ? Worry not, Digital Photography Student helps you identify 5 most common reasons for unsharp images, and how to avoid and/or correct them.

Tuk Tuk Ride in Thailand - blurry

Tuk Tuk Ride in Thailand - blurry

The sharpest part of your photo should be the point of interest, so take extra care when focusing. If something other than the main subject is the sharpest part of the photo, the viewer’s eye will rest in the wrong place. Five of the most common reasons are the following.

  1. The lens is not focused accurately, particularly at wide apertures (f/1.4 – f/4). This issue, although somewhat annoying, can be easily avoided by either focusing manually, or by using LiveView with the zoom feature, which can help you preview how the subject focused.
  2. The lens is focused on the wrong part of the composition. This is most often the case when trying to compose using rule of thirds, and the autofocus kicks in. This you can easily solve by aiming directly at your subject, pressing the shutter half-way, and then recomposing. Alternatively, if your digital camera allows it, you could tell your autofocus to use a specific area for autofocus, since it is a common feature, especially on a DSLR.
  3. Shutter speed is to slow for hand-holding, resulting in camera shake. In this case, try to find support for your camera. It could be anything, from a nearby car, wall, bean bag to ideally tripod. Alternatively, you could try increasing ISO.
  4. The photographer jabs the shutter release, wobbling the camera. To prevent this, you have two options. Self timer function, or the remote release. Both will eliminate your influence on the camera shake. The remote release will give you more control on when exactly to shoot a photo, so we would recommend that option.
  5. The subject moves. In most cases, there is little you can do to prevent this (apart from asking your subject to hold still). The only potential solution is to crank up your shutter speed (switch to Shutter Priority Mode), and hope it will be fast enough to freeze the subject in place.

If you would like to learn more on how to furthermore improve the overall sharpness of your image, check our 20 photography tips for taking tack sharp photos. Happy shooting.

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Category: Beginners Photography, Photography Lessons

About the Author (Author Profile)

Alan Graf is the editor and founder of Digital Photography Student. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is also editor of – a Croatian wallpaper archive, and his own photo gallery at

Comments (2)

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  1. Wind says:

    Best wishes from Romania! Very interesting informations! Good job!

  2. […] When out on shoot, it is quite easy to get blurred photos, especially in low light. They are more often than not result of a camera shake, rather than poor focusing. One would wonder how is it possible not to notice it while shooting. The answer lies in the camera’s small LCD preview monitor. We will not go into too much detail on why the photos are blurred. To find out more about this topic check out our article: 5 most common reasons for unsharp images. […]

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