Three things every amateur photographer needs to know before becoming professional.

September 20, 2017

DSLR Hand-Holding Rule

Although tripods have their place in the world of photography, I dislike using one. However, shooting handheld with DSLR increases the possibility of getting blurry images due to the movement of your hands and body when clicking a photo. So, to keep your photos tack-sharp while shooting handheld, always apply the hand-holding rule of thumb.


To use this rule when using a full frame DSLR camera (like Canon’s 5D line), always set your shutter speed to 1 times the focal length of the lens you are using. For example, when shooting handheld photos with a 100mm lens, your shutter speed should be at least 1/100 of a second. This formula only works for full-frame cameras however.


If you are using a crop sensor DSLR camera (like Canon’s 7D camera line), you must multiply the focal length of the lens by the crop value of the camera’s sensor (Canon’s crop factor is 1.6) before setting your shutter speed. So, a 100mm lens on a crop sensor camera becomes in effect a 160mm lens. Therefore, your shutter speed should set no lower than 1/160 of a second. Now, I hate doing math in the field almost as much as I dislike using a tripod, so to keep things simple, I multiply the length of my lenses times 2 when using a crop sensor camera. Therefore, if I am using a 100mm lens on one of my Canon crop sensor cameras, I set the shutter speed no lower than 1/200 of a second.


Shoot in Manual Mode

You may have heard the saying, “everyone's a photographer, until manual mode happens." Anyone can use a point-and-click, or a cell phone camera, but that overly processed, compressed, poorly formatted photo is purely utilitarian in nature. When shooting photos in manual mode, you get the most control over artistic expression and composition. As with any artistic medium, one should know the rules before breaking them.


Backup your data

All data saving devices fail eventually, and usually without any signs of a pending failure. Even if your SD card does not fail, data can get corrupted, and accidents will happen. If you are lucky enough to have a high-end camera able to write to two memory cards, you can backup your photos as you shoot them. However most of us will have to get by using a camera with a single SD card slot. Memory is getting more affordable each day, so no matter which way you chose to backup your images (external HDD, SSD, extra SD cards, etc.), be sure to do so after every shoot.

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