Have you ever taken a photo that kinda looked good, but wasn’t exactly on point in terms of sharpness? If you felt angry when you didn’t get the macro shot of a hummingbird just because auto focus missed out for a bit, I have a solution. For photographers, getting sharper photos is often make or break if they are trying to turn their hobby and passion into a career.
Sharpness is one of the most critical factors in determining the quality of the photo. Whether it is social media or the city billboard, everyone wants to see a sharp image. And photographers who can achieve it, are considered real artists.
For this reason, I’m going to share my seven simple ways to get sharper photos. Even though technology in 2020 provided technical solutions to many sharpness issues there are still lots of things you can do to improve image resolution and sharpness.
This is how to get sharper photos in 7 simple ways.
1. Set the adequate aperture of the lens
Most of the quality lenses open at the widest point possible between f/1.4 and f/2.8. Unfortunately, even though that is the point at which they absorb most light, photos they produce are less sharp compared to a more narrow aperture.
To achieve better results, set your lens at two or three stops before the maximum aperture. Of course, sometimes it won’t be possible to shoot at this aperture due to light conditions, but most of the time aim to be at the optimum to produce sharp pictures.
2. Lower the ISO on your camera
Naturally, I love to shoot at the lowest ISO possible. Depending on the situation, I try to be as low as 100 or 200. If the lighting is terrible, I will turn it a notch up, without compromising my images.
If you shoot at high ISO value, you can shoot with lousy lighting, but it will come at the cost of sharpness. Fine details will be blurred out by the noise that high ISO will produce, making the whole image blurred and often totally unusable.
When in doubt, try to find the external source of light or use a flash. ISO is an artificial way of getting more exposed photos in dark conditions, but the loss of sharpness is not worth it.
3. Invest in more high quality lens
People usually try to get sharper photos by using gimmicks, but the truth is, sometimes you want to spend money to get a good bang for your buck. Photography is not different in that regard.
Investing in a quality lens (or a set of them) will pay dividends later on the road. This is especially important if you shoot commercial photography.
A lens that can offer VR and image stabilization, while maintaining fast autofocus and quick switch between manual and autofocus can mean a difference between crispy and blurry look. Aim for a lens with wide aperture and options for image stabilization. You can learn more about lenses at websites like the Lenses Pro.
4. Use a tripod and cable release even when you can shoot handheld
One of the best ways to instantly improve the sharpness of your images is to forget handheld shooting. Though I love the flexibility of holding a camera in my hands, I recognize useful characteristics tripods and remote cable shutters have.
The advantage of using them is that you won’t get any shake, which, in return, can minimize the amount of blur on your photos. Using a tripod will give your camera stability, reducing the shaking that occurs when you take pictures using your hands.
On the same note, remote cable eliminates the need to press the shutter and cause vibrations to reduce the sharpness of the image.
5. Image stabilization is your friend
This is the alternative of using a tripod and remote release. If you mount your camera and use the cable, vibration reduction can actually make the artificial shakes, because it won’t recognize the cable or the tripod.
After all, the vibration reduction function is created to be used when shooting handheld, so if you use a tripod, it is wise to turn it off. On the other hand, handheld shooting will inevitably come with at least some vibration and shaking.
For that reason, it is essential to turn the image stabilization on. It will eradicate vibrations and give sharper images in return. I can’t stress enough how many times image stabilization saved me by providing me with better exposure and crispier images.
6. Single-point autofocus is a powerful tool
Camera and lens complement each other, and by default, they work together to create a sharp image. This will usually work fine if you want the same amount of details from corner to corner.
The tricky part is shooting when you want to achieve a certain depth of field, especially when shooting portraits or macro photography. To make sure the object of your focus will come out as sharp as possible, use single-point autofocus and aim.
After doing it, half-press the shutter button. You will set the focus on your subject, and the photo will come out razor-sharp.
7. Use post-production tools
One of the most significant leaps in digital photography is the advent of post-production programs. I use digital image processing for a variety of things. Often, sharpness improvements are on top of my list.
I have been using Lightroom for most of my work, but sharpness can be improved in Photoshop, Luminar, and other photo manipulation programs. When you take a photo and decide to alter it to achieve a desired level of sharpness, make sure to know that when you move your slider a bit and increase the sharpness, you lose some data of your photo.
Practically, this means that you can actually ruin the image if you push it too far. There is a limit of how crisp you want your image to be because too much sharpness can reduce colors and shift details too much.
Getting a sharp image is a goal each photographer wants to get. Even with powerful camera bodies and expensive lenses, this can sometimes be tricky. The tips to improve your images’ sharpness worked well for me in the last years, and I have been using it in 2020. as well. Apply at least some of them, and you will be surprised how sharper images you can pull off.
Hope you found our list useful! Thank you for reading our list on how to get sharper photos in 7 simple ways.
About the author – John Bennet
Drone Photography Bible would like to thank John Bennet for submitting this guest article. John Bennet is a photographer & a part-time author of the Lensespro blog. He has been a professional photographer for over six years, and he has great knowledge & passion for camera lenses.
Join the Drone Photography Bible community on Instagram
Do you love drone photography? Click through and follow us on Instagram for drone photographs from some of the best drone pilots at the moment.
As always, if you want to have your drone photography featured on the Drone Photography Bible Instagram feed, tag @dronephotographybible and hashtag #dronephotographybible. Your photos will feature on our Instagram as well as on the drone photography galley on our website.
Want your images to feature on our articles? We dont pay for images but do give shout outs, promotion and praise. Reach out to us on our Instagram to show us the photo you want to feature!
Finally… Do you want write for Drone Photography Bible? We are accepting guest and featured writers now. Check out the write for us page for more details.
Thank you to Unsplash for the stock images used in this article: How to get sharper photos in 7 simple ways.
The images used are found on the following links: