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Tips & Tricks

8 Reasons Why Your Photos Are Blurry and How To Fix Them

By Hanssie on December 22nd 2014

For the most part, photographers love tack sharp images. We get the best gear, we crank up the sharpen function in camera, we wield that sharpen Photoshop action to almost razor-like proportions…When I first started in photography though, I was finding that the images weren’t as sharp as the ones I’d seen online and some of them were downright blurry and unusable (even if I tried to salvage it by making the image black & white). It is one of the worst things to come home from a shoot and find that all your images are not sharp.

In one of my very first portrait shoots, my go-to lens, the Canon 24-105mm f/4 was acting up and so all I had was my Canon 50mm f/1.4. I did the entire session on that 50mm, went home and was shocked and dismayed to find that 50% of the images were blurry. Turns out, I had forgotten to change the aperture and shot the entire session at f/1.4! Thankfully, the other 50% of the images were pretty good and the client was happy to have them.



So, why are your photos blurry? Every photographer has taken a blurry photo. It happens to all of us, especially in the beginning when we are first trying to figure out our camera. In this video, Tony and Chelsea Northrup give 8 common reasons why your photos are blurry and also gives ways to fix each.

8 Reasons Why Your Photos Are Blurry

1. Camera Shake
2. Motion Blur
3. Shallow Depth of Field
4. Missed Focus
5. Air Quality
6. Subject Too Far Away
7. Light Quality
8. Misaligned Focusing System

If you’ve been a photographer for very long, you’ve probably experienced every single one of these reasons and have learned the fixes the hard way. I know I did. Pass this video along to a new photographer and say ‘You’re welcome.’

Watch ‘Blurry Pictures–What Causes Them and How to Get Sharp Photos!’

If you are new to photography, or even if you’re not, check out our newest workshop DVD, Photography 101, a comprehensive guide to learning photography. We use entry level gear to make amazing images and cover various areas of photography from kids to landscapes, food photography to fashion. Check it out in our SLR Lounge store.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Basit Zargar

    Nice !!

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  2. norman tesch

    im confused why do you use a 50mm f1.4 and not want to choose it at that. am i wrong should i get rid of a f1.4 lens and get an f4?? so what is hype of all these fast lenses??

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  3. Mike McAdams

    I always hate how they hand hold a 500mm lens…also reciprocal rule doesn’t always work for lenses either, variable zoom lenses will weigh more than a prime in most cases at lower focal length so that’s not always right.

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  4. Ben Perrin

    A liberal use of alcohol is the usual reason for blurriness in my pictures

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  5. Austin Swenson

    I had always considered most of these but I had never even thought about air quality before today, but you can definitely see a difference in the two shots. Although it might not be as dramatic since I don’t use a 500mm lens for anything! Haha

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  6. Rafael Steffen

    Another great video should explain the difference focus systems to make people understand the different AF modes.

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  7. Rafael Steffen

    Back to the basics but a very good video explaining all the possibilities. I like to see Chelsea using a Nikon!

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