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Stabilize Your Camera For Better Digital Photography

A Stable Camera Means A Crisp Photograph

By Damien Andrews

Image stabilization technology is an excellent element of digital photography. This amazing technology accounts for and corrects some camera motion during the shutter release process. But image stabilization is a long way from flawless. If you want the crispest, sharpest results from your digital photography, you'll need to stabilize the camera whenever you're taking photographs.

Most people think that between their steady hands and image stabilization technology, their digital photographs are as good as they can be. Unfortunately, that is far from an accurate statement. Here's a test to see how steady, or unsteady, your hands and camera really are when you are taking digital photographs: Take a laser pointer or small penlight flashlight and either attach it to the bottom of your digital camera with masking tape or hold it tightly to the camera with the hand that will not engage the shutter release button. Turn the light on. Stand about 10' from a wall and aim the camera and light at a specific spot on the wall. Now, as carefully as you can, depress the shutter release button and watch the light on the wall jump. If you can make it jump less than 12" you're doing pretty well – but not nearly well enough for great digital photography.

The reason you aim your camera at a wall 10' away is because the things you photograph are not touching the camera. The camera is receiving the reflected light from the object of your digital photography efforts. The further away the object is, the more pronounced any camera movement at all will be. Camera movement during exposure is the bane of telephoto, close-up and low-light digital photography.

The first thing to do about stabilizing your digital camera for your digital photography sessions is to look into purchasing either a tripod or a monopod. If you are really into digital photography, then consider getting both. Digital camera tripods and monopods run the full pricing gamut from under $10 to upwards of $300. If you are going to only have one tripod for your digital photography, then I'd suggest it have the following elements: a minimum height of no more than 24" tall; a maximum height of no less than 4' tall; a very lightweight, easy to open/close unit. Used tripods and monopods for digital photography can be found online at drastically reduced prices.

If you are caught wanting to take a digital photograph, but you don't have your tripod or monopod, then try these solutions to improve your digital photography: 1) Sit the camera on a solid, firm object like a car roof or fencepost. 2) Sit down and place your elbows on your knees to stabilize the camera. 3) Lean firmly into a structure or object such as a building, being sure to press at least one elbow onto the support. Stabilize your camera, take a deep breath, exhale slowly and then slowly depress the shutter release to snap your digital photograph. Take several so you can pick the best one later.

Practice your digital photography skills – especially holding the camera perfectly still. Pick something you like to take digital photographs of such as your dog, your antique car, your cat – whatever you like. Take numerous digital photographs and then blow them up on your computer screen later to see how you did. It's a fun and very revealing exercise for the digital photography buff. And just as importantly, such practice sessions will greatly enhance the quality of your digital photography.


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