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13 reasons for blurry photos! Our tips against blurry images

Very often we get messages like this: "Why are my photos getting blurred? What am I doing wrong?" So that this doesn't happen to you and all the others out there in the future, in this article we will show you 13 causes of blurry photos and tell you how you can avoid this in the future.

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Hey We are Jenny & Basti

We are the founders of 22places, the 22places online photo course and the cameraliebe online shop. 22places is your starting point for helpful travel tips and easy-to-understand photo tips - independent and above all: always honest.

We are the founders of 22places - your contact point for helpful travel tips and easy-to-understand photo tips - independent, authentic and above all: always honest. Just learn to take pictures in our online photography course and browse our cameral love online shop.

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Imagine you are in a beautiful place! It would be a shame if this place only exists in your memory in the end and the details continue to fade over time.

The solution: You capture this enchanting place on a photo so that you can still benefit from it later.

The picture looks great on your camera display and you're looking forward to saving the photos and viewing them on your computer.

And then comes the disillusionment: The photos are not really sharp at all.
This is especially annoying when you have photographed a place or a situation that you cannot repeat.

Then you have to live with the blurry photos for better or for worse. If you know the problem, you are definitely not alone with it.

As always in photography, it is beneficial to understand the basics of camera technology. For this article we assume a little basic knowledge of photography.

Basically, of course, we always recommend dealing with the settings and many buttons on your camera, then everything not only makes a lot more sense, but also a lot more fun.

If you feel like finally getting to understand your camera better, take a look at our online photography course. There we explain the complete basic knowledge of photography in easy-to-understand texts and videos so that you can soon take breathtaking photos yourself!

But now back to the topic. Here are 13 reasons for blurry photos.

Read our other photo tips as well

# 1 The focus isn't sitting

Getting the focus right is one of the most common causes of blurring photos.

Like most of us, you're probably using your camera's autofocus. In principle, this is a great thing, but it also has its pitfalls. Because autofocus is not just autofocus. You can usually still set how the autofocus should work on your camera. Sounds complicated? Is not it.

Most cameras have the auto focus preset so that the camera decides for itself which object you want to focus on in the picture. The setting also works quite well in many situations.

But even if modern cameras are very smart, they do not have a photographic view. So the camera does not always focus on the right place in your picture. This then leads to the fact that in the finished photo important things can be out of focus and unimportant things can be sharp.

The solution: Take back control of the autofocus. In your menu you can e.g. B. set that you can define the focus point yourself. This is incredibly practical and prevents nasty surprises from blurry photos.

Of course, this does not mean that you should focus completely manually. You just define which area your camera should focus and the autofocus does the rest.

# 2 Open aperture

A classic for blurry photos is an aperture that is too wide. We ourselves are big fans of taking photos with the aperture open, because in this way you get a great blur in the background and can highlight your main subject.

This effect is particularly popular in portrait photography. However, with a very wide aperture, there is a high risk that your subject will not be really sharp.

Let's take portrait photography as an example. You take photos with a very wide aperture of f / 1.4 or f / 1.8 and focus on the eye of your model. Ideally, everything goes well. But if your model moves back just a few inches, her eyes and probably the rest of her face are no longer razor sharp.

It doesn't even have to be due to the movement of the model. The eye is such a small point that the autofocus can sometimes get lost and focus the eyebrow instead.

Open apertures quickly lead to blurred images. There is no real solution to this, except to pay special attention to it. The wider you open your aperture, the more effort you should make to focus.

Our tip: If you are taking photos with the aperture open, it is best to check on the camera display whether the picture is in focus in the right place. With most cameras you can also zoom in on the image and see very quickly whether it is in focus or not

# 3 Closed aperture

Actually, you increase the depth of field of your photos by closing the aperture. Basically that is also correct and the depth of field of an image with an aperture of f / 10 is definitely greater than with an aperture of f / 1.8.

Now you could get the idea of ​​simply closing the aperture as far as it will go, e.g. B. to get the greatest possible depth of field in landscape shots. Unfortunately, this is exactly what makes your photos blurry.

The problem here is that every lens has an aperture range in which it can image the sharpest. It differs from lens to lens.

For many lenses, the ideal focus range is between f / 7.1 and f / 11. In addition, the photos become blurred again. Not completely out of focus, but simply no longer razor-sharp.

Our tip:You can simply try it out with your lens by photographing the same subject under the same conditions with different aperture settings. So you can easily find out at which aperture your lens delivers the best results and when it becomes blurred.

# 4 The exposure time

Another very common reason for blurry images is too long an exposure time or shutter speed. Let's take a quick look at how shutter speed works:

The exposure time determines how long your camera's shutter stays open while you take a photo. When you take a photo, light hits your camera's sensor. By setting the shutter speed on your camera, you can influence how long the light should fall on the sensor.

With a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second, you only let light onto the sensor for a short time and you can capture fast movements sharply in your image.

If your shutter speed is now 1 second, you let light onto the sensor for 1 second. This in turn means that everything that moves in your picture is not captured at all or is out of focus.

# 5 You move yourself

Often you forget that you are moving yourself. We are not a tripod, our hand trembles, our body moves and our arms can get heavy.

This is especially a factor if you have very little light available and have to take photos with a relatively long shutter speed.

There is a great rule of thumb for hand-held photography: Your shutter speed should never be longer than the focal length of the lens with which you are taking the photo.

Assuming you take photos with a focal length of 50 mm, your shutter speed should not be longer than 1/50 of a second. If you take photos with a 200 mm focal length, your shutter speed should not be longer than 1/200 second.

Of course, this is not always absolutely exact, but it is a very good donkey bridge if you photograph subjects by hand.

Our tips

If your shutter speed is marginally slow and you can't speed it up any further, just try using your own body as a support by pressing one or both elbows against your torso.

You can also see if you can find something to lean on. This will prevent your body from swaying. You may also find something to hang your camera on.

You should also make sure that the image stabilizer is switched on. But there are also a few things to consider, so we will address them separately below.

# 6 Your subject is moving

The next problem immediately follows. Even if you take very calm hand-held photos and the exposure time is not too long, your picture may end up being blurred.

Because we not only have the problem that we move ourselves when taking photos, but something in our picture often moves too.

That can be B. be strollers or cars. But we also have the problem with playing children, wild animals, marathon runners, cyclists or horse races.

Here the rule of thumb with the exposure time and the focal length doesn't help us any longer, because our subjects usually move much too fast for that.

The solution: The shutter speed of the camera has to be much shorter so that very fast moving people or objects can be captured sharply in the picture.

Our tip: In such cases, take pictures in mode S (with some cameras also Tv) and make sure that your shutter speed is short enough to capture fast movements in the picture. Depending on the lighting conditions, your camera will at some point tell you "If you shorten your exposure time even further, your picture will be underexposed". Then you can do two things: increase the ISO value (results in image noise) or open your aperture further (results in depth of field).

# 7 Image stabilizer off

Many cameras and lenses have an image stabilizer. Make sure that your image stabilizer is switched on when you are shooting handheld. Because it helps the camera to compensate for small movements and to show your subject in focus despite small blurring.

So if you haven't figured out where to turn the image stabilizer on and off yet, you should definitely look into it.

It can either be set directly in your camera or on your lens. The image stabilizer is also not always referred to as such. For our camera it is called z. B. SteadyShot.

It's incredibly important that you know where to turn it on and off. Because there are also situations in which you absolutely have to switch it off in order to get a sharp picture. We'll discuss that again below in the article.

# 8 You don't use a tripod

There are situations in which you simply cannot take sharp pictures with your hand. These are z. B. Moments in which you simply do not have enough light available to take photos by hand: night shots or long exposures during the day, e.g. B. to photograph flowing water "soft".

Once you've made your photo longer than the rule of thumb 1 / second = focal lengthwant to expose, you always need a tripod. Otherwise your photos will be completely out of focus - without exception!

We always have at least one tripod with us when we are out and about. Either our very light travel tripod, the Rollei Compact Traveler No. 1 Carbon or the slightly heavier, but also more stable Rollei Rock Solid Carbon Gamma with this tripod head: T-5S. We can warmly recommend both.

# 9 Image stabilizer off

Huh what? We said above to turn on the image stabilizer. Why should it now suddenly be switched off?

Very simple: Your image stabilizer should be switched off if you are using a tripod and the camera is stationary!

Indeed, this is a very common mistake. You put the camera on a tripod so that the picture is razor-sharp and then you become almost insane because the photo just keeps getting blurred.

Why? Because, despite the tripod, the image stabilizer still does its real job, namely to compensate for slight movements (your movements!).

If the camera doesn't move at all, but stands very still on a tripod, then the image stabilizer unfortunately does the opposite. He's blurring your picture!

So: Always switch off the image stabilizer when taking pictures with a tripod and don't forget to switch it on again afterwards.

# 10 self-timer

Another factor that can cause your pictures to blur even though you are shooting on your tripod is the shutter release!

When you take photos with a tripod, the important thing is that your camera is very still. But if you put it on a tripod and press the shutter release with your finger as normal, you will forcibly move the camera as well. No matter how carefully you press the shutter button, you will always vibrate your camera slightly and get blurry photos.

There are two ways you can avoid this mistake!

Either you turn on the self-timer and only let the camera release a few seconds after you have pressed the shutter release.

Or you take pictures with a remote release. The first method does not cost you anything, but the method with the remote release is more error-free and costs you around 20-50 euros.

The price varies depending on whether you want a radio or cable remote release.

We work with this radio remote trigger, which we can highly recommend: Ayex AX-5 / S2 radio trigger.

Make sure the remote shutter release is compatible with your camera. The best thing to do is to simply enter “remote release + camera model” in the Amazon search or go to your trusted dealer.

# 11 You're too close

Another reason for blurry photos is often that the minimum distance between the subject and your camera's sensor is not maintained.

Every lens has a so-called close focus limit, which is usually specified in millimeters or centimeters. This close-up limit tells you how close you can get your camera to your subject without it becoming blurred.

An example: You see a great flower on the roadside and would like to take a photo of it. Your lens now has a closest focusing distance of 30 centimeters. What this means for you is that you have to keep a distance of at least 30 centimeters from the flower.

How big the closest focusing distance is is usually written on the lens. For this reason there are so-called macro lenses. These have a very low focus limit, so you can get very close to insects or flowers.

Our tip: Just give it a try. Grab your camera and put something in front of you. Now you just start getting your subject in focus relatively close to the object. That probably won't work, so you just keep stepping back a little and see at what point the camera gets the subject in focus.

# 12 The technology is to blame

You always want to put the blame on technology.

But if we're honest with ourselves, in most cases it's not the camera or the lens, but simply one of the mistakes we just showed you.

In very rare cases, however, you can't really help the blur yourself and your lens has a flaw.

But if you are really convinced that it is not up to you, you should send your lens in for correct calibration.

Or maybe the autofocus on your camera needs to be recalibrated. But it's best to leave that to your trusted photo dealer. Maybe you also have a guarantee?

# 13 It's not fuzzy

Finally, another reason. When we talk about blurry photos, we should also talk about the definition of “sharp”.

Sure, you can tell immediately from some photos that they are out of focus. They're completely shaky or blurry and definitely unusable.

But there is also often the case that a picture is just a little bit blurry and that is often not that bad.

A little fuzzy? What should it be. If you look at your photo in a small format on your computer, it might look really great. But if you then enlarge it, the same picture suddenly looks completely out of focus and out of sheer shock you throw the picture directly into the virtual trash.

Stop! Not so fast. Ask yourself beforehand what you would like to do with the photo at all.

Do you just want to watch it on your computer? Are you a blogger and want to use it for your website? Maybe print a photo book? Print on canvas and hang over your sofa or show the picture as an advertising poster on a house facade?

You can probably see what we're getting at. Of course, it's not nice that your favorite picture isn't as sharp as you would like it to be.But maybe you get annoyed less if you make yourself aware of the purpose for which you need them in the first place. Because then you may find that the sharpness of the image is completely sufficient for this.

To show what we mean by that, here are two "fuzzy" pictures that we took:

Our conclusion on blurry photos

There are many reasons your images can become blurry. It is important to know the various reasons and to avoid all of them if possible.

Of course, you can't think of everything at once at first. It is completely normal. But we promise you: Practice makes perfect!

What is still on our hearts is: Please do not try to artificially sharpen blurred images. In most image editing programs, such as B. in Lightroom there is the possibility to sharpen the images. However, this is not intended for blurred images, but only to make images that are already sharp look even sharper.

A picture that is really out of focus is and remains out of focus and cannot be saved. Put it in the trash and just do better next time.

Rather than worrying about how to get blurred images sharp afterwards, rather occupy yourself with learning to understand camera technology. So after a short time you will no longer have the problem of blurred images.

Not only is it a lot of fun to learn to understand the individual camera settings, but it also leads to better results very quickly. Do you feel like it? Then take a look at our online photography course.

And now we wish you a lot of fun taking photos, failing, continuing and sending you a lot of #kameraliebe!