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Photo 101 : Holding a SLR < Previous | Next >
Hand-holding your DSLR steadily
This is probably a good time to discuss good hand-holding techniques to achieve sharp images. Pay attention to this section and practice more, and you’ll find yourself achieving more and more shots that are pin-sharp!

Let’s begin with the proper hand position. Place your right hand over the DSLR’s grip section and adjust your hand until your index finger rests naturally over the shutter release button. The finger should not feel awkward or cocked in an odd manner, but rather be able to depress the button gently in a smooth manner.
Your left hand goes under the camera and cradles the DSLR in your palm, and the thumb and two fingers (index and middle) should be in a natural position to zoom the lens and adjust the focus (if you want to). A key to proper handholding that many people do not realize – is that the weight of the camera should rest more with the left hand, so that the right hand is focused on triggering the shutter smoothly.

Your legs should be spread shoulder width if you’re standing up. If you are squatting down or seated, make sure you are in a stable position so you can focus on shooting instead of maintaining your own stability

Next, hold the camera up to your face and press it gently against the socket of your eye. Which eye you ask? The one that feels more natural to you! Most of us have a right master eye though. The important thing is to support the camera against your face so that it is not hanging freely in your hands; the face provide some resistance against your hand, so that the camera is stabilized. You can now compose your shot and focus on the subject by half-depressing the shutter release button.

Finally, before you take the shot, take a half-breath by filling your lungs partially with air, hold your breath and gently depress the shutter button fully. Hold your finger on the button until the shot is taken, then release the button gently. A lot of people make the mistake of “snapping” or “jabbing” the shutter release button with a fast motion, and releasing the finger off the shutter release button quickly. That creates a vertical motion that leads to blurred photos

Practice, practice and practice again and again – you can only get better over time!

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Best supporting actors
As much as photographers love to boast about their handholding abilities, everyone appreciates some help every now and then. There are plenty of support structures around you that can lend some stability to your handheld shots. For example, you can use trees or lamp posts to help you attain some stability in low shutter-speed shots, without resorting to turning up the ISO settings for a higher shutter speed (and risk introducing more noise).

If there’s a low wall or table, rest a soft jacket or camera bag on it so that it offers some form of soft support that you can rest your hands over (while holding the camera). Never rest the camera over the soft support without your left hand cradling it and trying to trigger the camera – the camera will simply slide around and the resulting images will not be sharp.
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