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BACK TO BASICS: How To Hold Your Camera

In this Back To Basics series, I would like to start at the beginning with how to hold your camera when taking a photograph. It seems simple enough, I know. But if you do not support your camera correctly, you run the risk of camera shake. This can cause fuzzy and out of focus photographs. So why frustrate yourself?

Holding a camera properly is easy to do and will become second nature in no time. The right hand should be positioned so that the grip is held by the last 3 fingers, and your forefinger is on the shutter release. Your left hand should be positioned palm facing up, to cradle the lens and/or bottom of the camera body. No extended pinkies here…we are not having high tea in a fancy restaurant. Besides, you wouldn’t want your fingers in the photograph.

When you position your hands this way, you tend to tuck your elbows in, making your body and camera one unit. When you look through the viewfinder in this position, there is less chance for camera shake which equals sharper photographs.

There are cameras with live view monitors on the back of the camera that allow you to compose and take photographs looking at the monitor, rather than through the viewfinder. This can be very handy in some instances. But it has been my experience that holding my arms out in front of me doesn’t work so well. First, gravity shows itself, then the excitement of getting that shot comes into play, or maybe you are in a crowd of people and someone bumps into you. You’re gonna get a fuzzy photograph.

I am not saying this is the only correct way to support your camera. For instance, Joe McNally has developed his own style of holding his equipment. And it works for him. Check out his video link at the bottom of this post. Even if his method does not work for you, you should get a kick out of the video. I know I did.

There is a lot of technology built into cameras today. Even if you have a vibration reduction system in your camera, it can only do so much. It is still up to you as the photographer behind the lens to capture the best image you can. Getting in the habit of holding your camera correctly will increase your odds of clear, crisp images.

Joe McNally’s DaGrip:

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