Saturday, January 30, 2010

Motion blur, camera shaking and out of focus

Sorry for this late post about photography knowledge. Been busy lately… Just FYI, I will be going to an event shooting this Sunday at Setapak. It’s about a musical festival, but the details I am not very sure for now. Feeling exciting about it as it’s my 1st paid shooting… Hehe…

Ok, lesson for today is blurriness in photo.

I know I know, most of u know how to take photo and u know about blurriness, if the photo is blurred, then it means something wrong and then u re-take de photo again. Then it blurred again. Then u shoot again until u get something u satisfy when u check in the little LCD screen of your camera. But then when u view it in your computer, the photo is blurred!

Why is this happening? Well, because u didn’t trouble shoot correctly. Do u know what’s wrong in the photo? And how can u improve the quality of the photo?

Other than during outing, most of the people take photos during low light situation, for example, in door party. When u’re shooting using digital compact (or even higher level camera), there r some limitation of the camera, your technique, or a combination of both. Blurriness in photo can be due to three main reasons, which is object’s motion blur, camera shaking and out of focusing.

Obviously, motion blur are referring to the motion of the object causing the blurriness in the photo. This may be due to fast movement of the object or long shutter time. In long shutter time, even the slightest movement of the object can cause an obvious blurriness in the photo. Camera shaking will also cause blurriness in a photo. It is common than human’s hand would shakes and normally when the shutter speed is longer than 1/30 we tends to shake when we r holding the camera. It also happens when we r pressing the shutter too hard.

How do we differentiate motion blur and camera shaking? Look at the photo below:


A drummer is hitting his drum rapidly and both photos were taken under low light condition. In the left photo, the drum and other stagnant objects are clearly seen, sharp, without any blurriness but the drummer is blurred. U can’t even c his face clearly. As for the right photo, the whole photo is blurred and u can notice that the blurriness of all objects has a same direction.
Well I think u might have guessed it now, the blurriness in the left photo is motion blur, while the right is due to camera shaking.

Now we knew what caused the blurriness, how can we reduce such blurriness?

For motion blur, use a higher ISO/shorter shutter speed or simply ask the object to stop moving (if situation allows… T.T)
For camera shaking, use a higher ISO/shorter shutter speed/switch on the image stabilizer or similar function on your lens if u r using Prosumer or DSLR/hold the camera the correct way/use a tripod/lean against a stable support if without tripod/ask someone with a steady hand!
One more common tip, USE YOUR FLASH!!! Although I normally don't like the effect of using flash. It spoils de mood and ambience of the photo.

For more details, u can refer to previous entries about ISO and shutter speed.

Let’s compare the next two photos and c if u can notice which kind of blurriness it is.


The left photo is blurred due to out of focus. Although almost all cameras have a function known as auto-focus, but in situations where the contrast between the object and background is not big (due to low light situation/complex colour/object is not outstanding compare to background) the function might not be working properly. Some users also never check the focus point of the shots or do not even let the camera having the time to focus.

For DC/Prosumer users, most models now will focus when u half press the shutter. Normally u would hear a beep/deed sound when the camera locks its focus and a box showing the focus point will appear on the screen. Check if the camera had got what u want to focus on. Release the shutter and half-press again to focus again until the focusing is correct then only fully press the shutter.
As for Prosumer/DSLR, when the camera is in auto-focus mode, the focus point focused will blink in your view finder. U can switch the focusing to the nearest focus point to guide the camera. If u are using live-preview mode, some additional controls might be required for auto-focusing and it is best to read the camera’s manual for guidance. During manual focus, a tip to achieve better focusing is the zoom to the object and adjusts the focusing. With more practice, manual focusing can be far better and faster than auto-focusing.

It is advised that u check the shot straight after u’ve taken your shots. Magnify a few times onto the object of interest and check whether the image is sharp or not. If not, re-take the shot.

Thank you for your time. I hope u learn something today and take better shots next time!

P/s: would like u all to take some time to leave comments so that I can improve my blog. Critics and suggestions are welcomed. And it would be a pleasure if u can help to answer the survey on the sidebar..


  1. GH, in the second pair of pics, do you mean 'the left photo is blurred' instead of 'the right one'?

    I don't take a lot of pictures (I usually let others do the work, :)) but I'll drop by every now and then for tips. Keep it up!

    Are you freelancing?

  2. Ola mandy! nice to c u here.. yup, mistake made n corrected. thanks for telling me tat.. hehe..

    i dun freelance, thou i hope to do so. so looking for chances to learn by taking up jobs, looking around for such opportunity too. any offer? hehe..

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. No worries. :)

    Hmm, I think most job search sites advertise vacancies for freelance jobs. Try JobStreet, and careerjet. Also, check out the notice board on They sometimes advertise freelance jobs within the arts/entertainment industry and I've seen companies/individuals looking for photographers there.

    Or post your own pictures here to promote your skills la. You can have different series/sets of photos related to different themes/subjects. You never know when someone's going to stumble upon your blog and take an interest in your photos. :)

    Good luck!

  5. ya, thought of tat too.Thinking of adding album to my sidebars. Too bad, I'm still on my way to make my 1st portfolio, took too few photo. haha.. thanks o!

  6. Control the break of any recording inside Movement 5 and look as 3D sections and shards fly by the camera. inMotion3D Smash's movement is programmed and adjustable, so clients essentially need to drag, drop a generator into the course of events, apply their media to the Drop Zone, and look as it breakes. Motion 5 Effects


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