5 Tips for Kicking Blurry Photos to the Curb

You might remember Gayle Vehar from our Two Weeks of Photography where she explained Manual Photography. Well, she is back as a contributing Lil Blue Boo author: sharing tips, tricks and tutorials all related to photography. We know you will learn so much from her, we certainly have.


Gayle is a photographer based in Utah and the  editor of Mom & Camera. All of Gayle’s posts will be linked up here. Please welcome Gayle to Lil Blue Boo.



5 Tips for Kicking Blurry Photos to the Curb via lilblueboo.com

Are your blurry photos making you sad?  I get asked all the time about how to end blurry photos and thought I would share my TOP 5 tips for getting rid of them once and for all!

1. Photograph in Good Light! It’s true!  Good light is the most important aspect of photography.  And if you want to get rid of your blurry photos forever you’ll need plenty of it.  Photograph where there is good light and you have a much better chance of getting a sharp photo!

2. Hold Steady! Okay, I am sure that this sounds really, really obvious!  When you are taking your photos, make sure you are holding steady.  If you are standing, make sure to hold your elbow tight to the body. If you are having a hard time keeping yourself steady, use a wall, a table, or even the floor to help you out.


5 Tips for Kicking Blurry Photos to the Curb via lilblueboo.com

3. Fast Shutter Speed! LOTS of blurry photos are the result of a shutter speed that is too slow.  When photographing kids, I try to keep my shutter speed at 1/200, if possible.  When using a long focal length (120mm, 200mm, etc.) I try to keep my shutter speed AT LEAST 1/focal length–sometimes even higher.  If you aren’t sure what shutter speed is, you can read this tutorial on Lil Blue Boo (or if you’d like to know about shutter speed and a whole lot more, check out my e-book Take Better Photos.)  If you don’t want to know what shutter speed is, try using either the Child or Sports Scene Mode found either in your menu or on the dial on top of your camera!

4. Focus on Your Subject! And in a portrait, let’s be more specific and make that your subjects eye!  This is another tip that might seem like a no-brainer, but is another big reason why your shots might be blurry.  If you have a point and shoot, you may not have any control over where the camera is focusing.  If your camera chooses the subject to be something other than what YOU think it should be, your photo will turn out blurry.  Most DSLRs will have multiple focus points to choose from.  Spend a minute in your camera manual to figure out how to move your focus points where you want them.  If you think it is too much work to move your focal points around, then you need to perfect the “focus and recompose” method. Your photos will thank me!


5 Tips for Kicking Blurry Photos to the Curb via lilblueboo.com

5. Be Gentle! Be sure you are squeezing your shutter quickly and smoothly.  If you stab at it or press it hard you will be adding a lot of unnecessary shaking to the photo.  Your camera isn’t a miracle worker–be kind and help it do it’s job :)!



  1. says

    Thanks for these great tips! Definitely true about having good light. I always like to remember my high school photography class and being taught that “photography” translates to “light writing”.

  2. Joy T. says

    Thanks! I definitely need to figure out how to move my focal point… I tend to disagree with my camera on occassion and sometimes, it surprises me by focusing on something BEHIND my subject, ergh! So I *think* I know what you mean by focus and recompose, b/c I think I do this a lot.. is that where you let the camera focus on your subject and then move to the composition you wanted wuickly and take the shot without allowing the camera to refocus? Or am I totally off-base here?

  3. Krista says

    great tips! I’m working on my photography skills :) as my little guy is starting to squirm across the floor I know this will be especially helpful! Can’t wait to check out your blog for more inspiration! Thanks again

  4. says

    These are great tips, I cant wait to read more. I have a question: If I shoot at 1/200 sec indoors, what f/stop and ISO should I use? Thanks! I shoot with a CanonT1i and 50mm/f1.8

    • says

      Your f-stop will be pretty wide open. With my f/1.8 lens, I usually liked to have it around f/2.2 to f/2.8 and then adjust your ISO until your light meter tells you your exposure is about right. Practice the focus and recompose method with a stationary subject until you can nail your focus!

  5. Gen says

    My two favorite blogger at the same place . Yeah! Thank you Gayle for all your tips. My phot imrpoved really fast in the last few months. Im still learn but tour blog helps a lot! And ashley, you inspire me for my sewing addiction!

  6. Marla H. says

    Sometimes I use the “timer” feature so that I don’t even have to press the button to take the picture! Usually you camera will have a 2 second, 5 second or 10 second timer feature, I think. It’s an easy tip to help keep steady! :)