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Old Sep 17, 2003, 11:11 AM   #1
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Default Shaky Hands


I have been reading this forum for awhile now and found it quite helpful. There is a question I have been wanting to ask which I have not seen listed in the other threads. "What can you do to stop your hands from shaking?" I have tried various techniques (holding my breath, bracing myself against an object) without much success. There are alot of times when a tripod is simply not feasible for me. My primary shooting areas are when hiking or working a concert( roadie). It is my thought that this will improve my pictures moreso than a new camera(not to mention saving me alot of money). Any thoughts, suggestions, experience would be very much appreciated.

Thank you
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 11:24 AM   #2
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Rest your hand against a wall, on a solid object and this will help reduce shaking. Also you can prop you elbow on similar objects. Press the shutter button half way if you are using auto focus and then when the indicator light press it fully. Press the shutter button do not jerk it. It is like shooting a weapon, squeeze the trigger do not jerk it. Hold your breath to take the picture. Practice. Practice. Practice.
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 11:27 AM   #3
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If I don't have a tripod with me, I lean my arms on something, so the hands can't shake.
If there's nothing you can lean on, just hold the camera with both hands, turning your elbows outside. You got a better balance like this.
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 12:01 PM   #4
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Default Suggestion

I was born with a hand tremors (there is a medical term for it ). I like the cameras that are designed to rotate the LCD viewer. With these you can hand hold them next to your body. The other method is to use a remote for the shutter press. With this you can support the camera with both hands almost any way you like and then click the remote button.

Practice certainly helps, but if you have shaky hands to start with you'll reach a point where it will not mean an awful lot and you'll be stuck with just fast shutter speeds for all your photos.
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 12:33 PM   #5
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Another thing that can help if the shot will allow it is to lay the top portion of one or both of your arms against your body so that your elbow is touching your stomach or thereabouts. It is kind of akward at first but with your arms laying against your body and just your forarms coming out holding the camera, your body stabalizes your arms. This is best with a swivel lcd too, but if you do not have one, hold the camera higher and lock your focus and exposure(halfpress the shutter) and then move to this position (even at a slight angle, you should be able to see enough on the lcd to get composititn).
If you can shoot with one hand, extend one arm out with the camera and put the other arm down like this. Rest the wrist of the extended arm in the hand of the arm that is against the body for stability.
Just something to try that sometimes works for me anyway.
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 1:19 PM   #6
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I do something similar to what richardh suggested. After writing all this, maybe I should have put up a picture....

I am right handed and I use a DSLR. That means no LCD to look at, I have to look through an eyepiece.

I stand with my left shoulder and leg/foot more forward than my right. Imagine how a baseball pitcher stands when on the mount, just not as turned (hey... I was a pitcher, maybe that is where I got it from?) My weight is about 85% on my left leg, my right is mostly for balance.

I put my left elbow slighty diagnoally across my body so that the point of my elbo is slightly left of the center bottom of my sternum (bone which forms the center of the rib cage.) I press the upper part of my arm against my body/chest slighty. The lower part of my arm is almost straight up, holding the lens/tripod mount (note, I don't use a consumer camera which only had a camera "body", I use Digital SLR which has a detachable lens protruding from it.)

My lower 1/2 of my right arm is pressed against the right side of my body, the elbow bent so I can hold the camera body.

That means one hand on the lens/tripod mount, one hand on the camera body. The upper part of both arms pressed slightly against my body. I have to admit that I don't always do this with my right arm... I some times "chicken wing" and stick my elbow out. I've told my girlfriend she should warn me when I do it... and now I do it less.

To make this position work I have to raise my shoulders slightly, my right more than my left (it's a bit uncomfortable, but I've gotten used to it) and lean forward slighty and extend my neck out and forward (also slightly uncomfortable, but I get used to it.) I am slighly soar after shooting for several hours doing this.

But I have found it to be quite stable.

Did that make any sense? :shock:

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Old Sep 17, 2003, 1:50 PM   #7
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One trick I have learned is not to release the shutter button right away. Leaving it down for a while (a second is more than enough most of the times) eliminates some camera movement.

I sometimes put the camera against something such as a pole, fence or tree, and if the camera can be placed in fixed location suitable for the shot I place the camera there and use the timer.

When this is not feasible I put my feet a little bit apart (to the sides) for a better footing, rest my elbows against my body and hold the camera against my face. Most of the movement in my pictures comes from hand shake. Doing this eliminates most of the hand movement.

A tripod is the ultimate solution of course.
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 3:57 PM   #8
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You don't mention what kind of camera you are using.

Nikon Digital Cameras have a feature known as "Best Shot Selector".

When you enable this shooting mode, you can press and hold the shutter button, while the camera snaps multiple photos.

When you release the shutter button, the camera automatically saves the sharpest one (probably by saving the photo with the largest file size, since a larger size would indicate that more detail was captured).

I've used this feature often with a Coolpix 950 and Coolpix 990. It's only available with flash turned off.

A camera with a faster lens (lower F Stop Number rating, wider aperture) also helps (since it can gather more light, allowing the camera to choose a faster shutter speed).

Cameras like the Sony DSC-F707, DSC-F717; Olympus C-3040z, C-4040z, C-5050z; Canon G2, G3, G5 have faster lenses than most.

Also, if your camera has either shutter priority, or aperture priority shooting modes, you can change the camera's settings so that it will prefer a faster shutter speed.

With Shutter Priority, you can set a faster shutter speed, letting the camera choose the correct aperture.

With Aperture Priority, you can set it use a wider aperture (lower F-Stop) setting, so that it will also prefer a faster shutter speed.

Even if your camera is strictly auto exposure (with no control over these settings), If you shoot at full wide angle, a camera's lens can gather more light, so this allows it to use a wider aperture/faster shutter speed too, reducing blur due to camera shake/subject movement.

You can also increase shutter speed by shooting at a higher ISO setting, but this will also increase noise in a photo. Try experimenting with your camera's settings, and you may be able to take sharper photos that way too.
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 4:05 PM   #9
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Lazarus, I would like add to these excelent tips; Relax for a split second before pushing the shutter button. Feel how steady you are standing on your feet. Feel comfortable.

Holding your breath, may work for short exposures, for me it only works adverse (with multi seconds exposure).
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 4:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gibsonpd3620
It is like shooting a weapon, squeeze the trigger do not jerk it.
Good Advise -- practice this. Squeeze the shutter button, and be surprised when the shutter trips -- just like you'd want to be surprised when pulling the trigger on a gun.

Be Steady and Smooth with the pressure on the shutter button, until the shutter trips. Don't force it.

Also, many people practice "dry firing" a new gun (firing it over and over with it unloaded), to "smooth out" their trigger pull. Note: this is an example only -- this can damage the firing pins on some guns, like .22 rimfires.

You may want to do the same thing with your camera. Practice as much as possible (hopefully, not wearing out the shutter button).

Here's an example of a 1/8 second, hand held exposure with no flash from my new Konica KD-510z (now, if I could only do this every time).

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