Photography Cheat Sheet: Tips for Handheld Shooting

Don’t have a tripod with you? We have just the photography cheat with tricks to help make your camera steady for sharper shots.

A tripod is an invaluable tool for shooting situations when you need to keep your camera absolutely steady in order to get sharp photos. However, if you don’t have one yet, or didn’t bring one along with you, you’ll have to pull some tricks to avoid blurry photos. You never know when these tricks will come in handy, so we have today’s featured photography cheat sheet to help with that.

The flowchart infographic below, put together by Digital Camera World, has a few suggestions for you to try in the event that you don’t have a tripod to keep your camera steady. It takes into account some situations you’re likely to find yourself in and what you can do with or without some tools at your disposal.

The first thing to account for is the shutter speed reading of your camera. If it’s slower than the effective focal length of your lens (1/80 sec for an 80mm lens, as mentioned in the example), you first have to either choose a wider aperture or increase the ISO setting to get a faster shutter speed. If it’s faster than the effective focal length, and you’ve adjusted the aperture or ISO, turn on your camera’s image stabilization feature. This will help you get sharp images at slower shutter speeds.

Next, you’ll have to be more mindful of how you hold your camera when composing shots. To make yourself as stable as possible, stand with your legs slightly apart, and your arms down by your sides. When holding your camera, cradle both the camera and lens with your left hand and press the shutter smoothly to keep it as steady as possible.

If you’re shooting on open ground with features like a tree, fence, or a rock formation, you can lean on it to stabilize yourself as you take the shot. If there aren’t any stable structures like that, you can still use your camera bag or backpack to rest on as you shoot. Fire the shutter using either your camera’s self-timer or a remote release to prevent camera shake. You can also shoot kneeling down to make a stable platform to rest your elbow on.

Need more tips and tricks for your next photography practice? We have more photography cheat sheets for you to check out!