Back to Basics

Have you ever noticed on TV and films how often a photograph is portrayed as being taken with an incorrect lens – amazing close ups from an impossible distance with a standard lens? Or how about the well lit photograph taken in near zero light?  Or how about one of my pet gripes holding the camera completely wrong? (I often see the last one when out and about.)

I cannot do much about the first two items, but I can give some advice on this post about the last one.

Part one – Holding the camera correctly.

Do not grip the camera by the sides with both hands, this makes the camera unstable. Instead, hold your camera with your right hand by the grip on the right side (most cameras have a molded grip) place your left hand under the lens and tuck your elbows in to your chest, this forms a triangle which makes the camera a lot more stable and less prone to camera shake.

                                                 Incorrect grip                                                                                                      Correct grip


Part two – Focusing correctly.

When focusing or zooming a lens do not hold the lens on the top of the focus or zoom ring – this again makes the camera unstable due to the possibility of applying downward pressure. As with the correct holding position make your adjustments from the underside of the lens, this again in forming a triangle makes for a more stable arrangement.

Incorrect method of  focusing                                                                          Correct method of focusing


Although the illustrations in this post show the use of a film camera, the same principles apply to digital SLR cameras. If you have a viewfinder use it, on a tripod the rear screen can be used. I have seen more than a few people using the rear screen whilst hand holding the camera, not an easy thing to do! ( It is not a mobile phone!) This can once again lead to camera shake. In camera / lens stabilisation can correct for camera shake, it is designed as an aid to producing sharp photographs. However, good technique is better than relying on technology to correct for bad practices.

Gripe over! I hope this post offers some guidance.