Stop taking blurry, out-of-focus pictures - Kansas City Photography Workshop

How many times have you had to delete a photo because it was too blurry? When I use my phone I have this problem more often than I would like and it's so frustrating! Kids and pets move fast and sometimes my phone just can't keep up.


So you buy a "real" camera thinking it will solve all the problems but it doesn't.


And now you are even more frustrated because you spent a lot of money and aren't seeing the return on your investment. More than likely you bought the camera, charged it up, turned it on a started to shoot. Maybe, just maybe, you looked at the manual to figure out why there were so many buttons but you haven't opened it since. It's ok to admit it, everyone does that same exact thing.


But if you are still on auto mode {that safe little green rectangle}, you are only using 10% of your camera's capabilities and aren't getting the most bang for your buck.


You don't have to switch all the way to manual mode - your camera has awesome built in modes to help you take back the control and really tell your camera what you want it to do. So, go grab your manual (I'll wait...) and search the index for "Shutter Priority". It will most likely be the [S] or [Tv] icon on the top spinny knob. Go ahead and turn it to that and take a breath...


Shutter priority lets you control how FAST your camera takes the picture.


When you hit the button to take a picture, the "click" you hear is the shutter opening and closing. The longer the shutter is open, the more movement the camera will capture. So with a moving toddler we want to leave the shutter open for as short as possible so the camera will "freeze" their action and you'll be left with a nice, sharp, in-focus photo. To use Shutter Priority mode, you get to set the shutter speed and then your camera will adjust the other settings in order to create the "best" photo possible. Once the mode on your camera is set to S (or Tv), you can change the shutter speed by spinning the dial by your fingers (you will probably have to look through the viewfinder while doing this to see the numbers move).


The numbers may seem weird at first but let me explain.


Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second. So when you see 1/4000 that means the shutter is open for a super-millisecond (creating a super sharp photo). If you see 2", that means the shutter will be open for 2 seconds (creating a ton of movement in the photo).


Being able to control your shutter speed will allow you to one of two things.


Freeze Motion

Setting your shutter speed to 1/200 or faster (up to 1/4000 on most camera), will freeze the motion that is happening in front of your lens.


Show Motion

To give the feeling of movement, drop the shutter speed to less than 1/100 - some cameras even go down to 30 seconds. Be sure to use a tripod or hold your breath to avoid camera shake.




There are some awesome things you can experiment with by playing with the shutter speed.

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