Jet Skier, Lough Neagh, from Masserene, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
(Nikon D750 / 28 to 300 mm f3.5 to 5.6 lens - 300 mm / 1/500th / f9 / ISO 100)
Getting Started - #3 - Pressing the Shutter - Shoot like a Sniper
It's a real pain when your photo turns out blurred. But there are only a few reasons why that can happen.
1 - The subject moved.
2 - The camera moved.
3 - The camera did not have time to focus before you pressed the shutter.
We'll look at 1 - 'The subject moved' in a later post - but how your finger presses the shutter button has an enormous effect on 2 - 'The Camera moved' and 3 - 'The camera did not have time to focus before you pressed the shutter'.
Most shutter buttons are designed to be half-pressed and then fully-pressed.
Half-pressing the shutter button switches on the focus mechanism of the camera. In good light - say outside in bright sunlight - the camera just takes a fraction of a second to focus. And you can normally tell when it has finished focussing because typically a box or a cross will appear on the focus point in your viewfinder or rear screen. (Have a look at your camera instructions on what symbol appears in the viewfinder or on the rear screen to show you that the camera has finished focussing.)
Once the focussed symbol has appeared you can then press the shutter fully to take the picture.
Sadly, a very typical early mistake is to press the shutter button quite violently - not giving the camera time to focus and indeed pressing it so forcefully that the whole camera moves in the process. That means the camera has moved and it hasn't focussed - so, unfortunately, you get a blurred photo.
Instead you need to use the shutter button as a sniper uses a trigger.
First, gently, depress the shutter button to the halfway point. And stop.
Give the camera time to focus.
In bright light this will be almost instantaneous.
In poor light it might take up to a second or two.
Only - and only - when the focus symbol has appeared in your viewfinder or on the rear screen - then you can - gently - press the shutter fully down - gently - so you do not move the camera.
It's a really little thing, but learning to press the shutter gently, first to the halfway point, and then fully down, really makes a big difference to the probability of your photo being blurred and in focus.
(We'll look at 1 - The subject moved - later - but, for the moment, learn to press the shutter button the way a sniper presses a trigger! Good shooting!)
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