Have you ever looked a photos on the Internet and wondered how they got it tack sharp. Chances are you thought to yourself that it has something to do with the equipment used. There is some truth in that, certain lenses are definitely sharper then others however I can pretty much guarantee that the photographers that took those photos used one or a combination of these techniques to get the optimum sharpness from their lens. The good thing about that is you can too.
#1 Use a Tripod
Tripods are awkward and often fall into the category of “i don’t need this today”. Well if you want the sharpest photos possible then you should be using your tripod. If your camera is still your images will be sharper. For everyone out there that says, “I don’t need a tripod I shoot portraits” have a look at Joel Grimes.
#2 Use a remote shutter release or timer
Following on from point 1. If you want to minimize as much movement as possible then you should trigger your shutter with a remote shutter release cable or use your cameras inbuilt timer. By now you should be realising that a still camera means sharper images.
#3 Use Manual Focus
This is more of a specialised technique but if your subject is stationary use manual focus. It takes a bit of practice but you’ll end up with much better results. Autofocus is great for moving subjects but if your trying your hand at macro, for instance then manual focus is the only way to go.
#4 Increase your Shutter Speed
Again this reduces any risk of capturing camera shake. You will need to take into consideration your exposure and sometimes a faster shutter speed just isn’t what your looking for.
#5 Use the sweet spot of your lens
It doesn’t matter what lens you have, it has a sweet spot. In most cases it’s somewhere around f8/11. If your using a zoom lens then chances are you will need to research the optimum focal length as well but getting the aperture right will have a huge impact.
#6 Enable Mirror Lockup
Again with the camera movement. When you press the shutter the the mirror in your camera will flip up immediately before the shutter opens. This flip can introduce unwanted camera shake. By enabling mirror-lockup it adds a little pause before the shutter opens and this will allow your camera to stabilise.
BOUNUS: Turn off Image Stabilisation
What??? I hear you… if your camera is on a tripod the stabilization method will actually introduce some shake and movement.