How many of you watch your favorite films and notice an excessive amount of camera shake? Now I’m not talking about the ridiculousness of “found footage” film or the chase scenes of a Jason Bourne flick, I’m talking about the oh-so-subtle handheld shots, especially during a critical moment.

The handheld shot is a technique used by filmmakers to add a sense of realism or voyeurism to a scene. Like any stylized technique, it should be used sparingly for a greater impact. However, certain scenarios come up where handholding the camera comes at no other option, whether it be budget, time, or spacial restrictions. Zachary Ramelan, over at PremiumBeat, gives four tips to help improve your handheld filmmaking and as well as a few shots to try handheld.

[REWIND: Film VS Digital | Photography’s Past Meets Its Present, Side By Side]


Most camera systems on the market have some sort of image stabilization built in, either in the lens, sensor, or the combination of the two. Keeping the camera close to the core of your body while filming will give the most smooth footage without the use of any extra rigs or accessories. and adding an additional point of contact the camera either with your eye or a camera strap will help your footage come out all the smoother.

Also keep in mind that shooting at wider focal lengths also tends to make it easier to stabilize your footage, as telephoto lenses tend to amplify the smallest of jitters. This is one of the reasons that the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 is popular amongst filmmakers.