How To Create SHARPER PHOTOS - Digital Photography | Ian Worth | Skillshare

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How To Create SHARPER PHOTOS - Digital Photography

teacher avatar Ian Worth

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. 01 INTRO

    • 2. 02 CLASS PROJECT



    • 5. 05 SHUTTER SPEED

    • 6. 06 ISO

    • 7. 07 APERTURE

    • 8. 08 HAND HOLDING

    • 9. 09 TRIPODS

    • 10. 10 LENS CHOICE

    • 11. 11 THE BEST CAMERA


    • 13. 13 GO SHOOT

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About This Class

If you have ever wondered why your photos come out soft, blurred or just underwhelming then this class is definitely for you.

In this class, I will teach you how to create pin-sharp photos on any digital camera. 

Digital photography is an incredible pass time and having the right skills for the right conditions can really help to take your photography to the next level.

In this class, I talk about  many different aspects of digital photography. With modules about portraits, weddings and landscape photography there's sure to be something for every Digital photographer

Please note: This course is suitable for the absolute beginner but there are many useful tips for the more experienced photographers too. Something for everyone...

What's covered in the course.

  • Focusing
  • Shutter speed
  • ISO
  • Aperture
  • Light
  • Hand holding
  • Using a tripod
  • Lens choice
  • Smartphone photography
  • Editing for sharpness
  • Landscape photography
  • Portrait photography
  • Wedding photography
  • Sports photography
  • Documentary photography
  • Digital photography

Take my focusing class here

Take my photo editing skillshare class here

check out my photography equipment

check out my landscape photography

learn more on my youtube channel

Meet Your Teacher

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Ian Worth


Hello, I'm Ian, a professional filmmaker and photographer based in the UK. I document weddings for a living but also run a Youtube channel based around my love for the great outdoors and landscape photography.

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1. 01 INTRO: Hello and welcome. My name is even worth unprofessional photographer based in the UK In this class, I'll be talking about how to get sharper photos with a DSLR or mirrors camera. So if you've ever wondered why your photos come out a little bit blurry or soft, looking in this class is definitely for you. I'll be covering many aspects of DSLR photography, which will help you to gain sharper images to follow along. In this classy can use any camera that has manual controls, even a mobile phone taking manual. Control over the camera will allow the user to make the creative decisions, which in turn will lead to more successful results. I feel this class is suitable for the absolute beginner or for someone looking to expand their skills it and just become a better photographer. I really look forward to seeing you in the cast. 2. 02 CLASS PROJECT: for the cost projects. I would love for you to follow along and put into practise the techniques that you learn throughout this course. I love to see some of your photographs that you have taken using these techniques. So please go ahead and upload your best work into the class project and I will be able to take a look on, offer my feedback. I look forward to seeing your work. 3. 03 FOCUS FOR SHARP PHOTOS: using the camera for shop photos of the topic all of its own. I've created a separate class, purely focused, no pun intended, uncovering every aspect of focusing the camera. I'll leave a link in the class notes for that class that you can take a look and learn more about focusing. But for this class, always give you a brief overview. Focusing the camera essentially means moving the elements until the sharpest pop possible image is achieved at the required point in your scene. This could be achieved by using the cameras built in focus in modes or by manually focusing using the focus ring, which you could see here. Most cameras would have different focusing modes, and choosing the right mode for the right subject on conditions is vital for obtaining a sharp photo. Most, such as Single Point focusing, are perfect for in your subject is static, allowing you to place the focus point exactly what you require it. This means that you can get that exact part of image sharp. Alternatively, using wide tracking and continuous autofocus will be great for fast moving subjects such a sports or action Pataki free after news manual focusing too is this allows me to be in complete control over which part of the images in focus choosing the right method is critical, and I urge everyone to practice with both auto focus on manual focus To find out what works best for your required genre of photography. I Tyne tees Single point autofocus for most situations is my go to setting for folks in. I placed a single point in the scene where I wish the focus to bay, then half press the shutter to lock, focus and take my image. If neither the subject or myself has moved during the exposure, I'll be sure to have taken it well. Focus Shop Now, of course, a well focused shot doesn't necessarily mean a sharp one, but it's definitely the first step to master forgetting pin sharp images. 4. 04 LIGHT PLAYS IT'S PART: light plays a massive part in photography on Without it, we simply can't taken image. Ah, well. It's single of many benefits for getting a balanced, well exposed and sharp image. The better the lighting is, the more options will be available to photographer say. For example, on a bright, sunny day, we've got a plethora of options for taking an image. Generally, hand holding will be achievable of the shutter. Speed would be very fast. This means will not have to worry about camera shake. If our subject is moving again, are sure to speed on. A sunny day will be very quick so it can freeze emotion in are subject to having a first should have speed will really help to get sharp images Light on the subject can also make an image sharp or soft. For example, If we have the light source to different left or right of the subject, the image will likely to be very contrast e resulting in a very sharp looking image. However, if the light sources bright and directly behind the subject, the image will tend to it washed out and lack contrast on become a lot softer, positioning the light on the subject in the correct area is key for getting the desired look for maximum sharpness in a photo. I'd prefer to light my subject from the front, but to the left or right of my subject that's creating a well. It's seen well. This may work well for a studio portrait when we have complete control over our lighting. Shooting a landscape photo towards the light. You sunrise or sunset will present many challenges as a light source will be heading directly towards the lens. There are a couple of problems are co and shooting straight at the sun. On these Aarhus follows exposure. While it's really difficult to achieve a balanced exposure when pointing directly at the sun, often the sky will be overexposed on the ground will be under exposed, meaning detailed. Be lost in one of those areas. Lens flare and ghosting will often be a problem, too. First thing Weaken bracket are shots at different exposures on blend these images together in postproduction to achieve a balanced image, or we can use graduated neutral density filters. A graduated neutral density, filters or reduce exposure in part of an image which can help to balance our exposure. Both of these methods work really well. If you decide bracketing method to be the best choice for you, then I would advise using a lens hood to reduce lens flare. If you're using filters than shielding the lens with your hand or another object will work better. Lens flare can really reduce sharpness in the final image, so eradicating this could really help to get sharp photos. Dark conditions can be really problematic for the photographer that uses natural light. Without good light, hand holding becomes more difficult. The less light that enters the camera with slower I should. This people need to bay when he gets to slow. Will introduce camera shake in terror images resulting in soft looking photos. The same could be said for are subject to if the subject is moving and we have a slow shirt to speed than the subject may well be blood. There are many options available to eradicate this are recovering those next 5. 05 SHUTTER SPEED: should the speed ice over an aperture make up the exposure triangle? We're looking to get sharper photos. Understanding the fundamentals of these three areas is key. Let's talk about shutter speed. First shutter speed is the duration off the exposure the time it takes for the photo to be taken, taking the camera out of auto mode and into manual. Let's the user have full control over the shutter speed to gain and even exposure. The shitter will control how much light is let into the camera's sensor. The more white that it lets into the camera, the brighter the image will become too much light, and the image will become overexposed. Too little light will become under exposed. Having control over the shutter speed. Let the photographer make many creative choices. For example, if shooting an athlete running, we may need a really faster to speed to freeze that motion, resulting in a sharp photo a static portrait. On the other hand, we could shoot at a slower shirt to speed if needed, essentially just enough not to introduce any camera shape. A long exposure of a waterfall, for example, will require really slow should speed to smooth out the water and make it look dreamy. Being able to control this means many more options from a creative perspective. I will also help us to achieve sharper images. When shooting in low light situations such as a wedding in a church, we'll find that the required shutter speed will become very slow to gain the correct exposure. This is because the available light is less meaning The shuttle need to be open for longer to pull in enough light. The problem here is that when the shutter speed is so slow, will start seeing motion blur from our subjects moving on camera shaped from our hands, resulting in poor quality and soft images. Don't worry, though. There are still two parts of the exposure triangle left to help us here and there, coming up next. 6. 06 ISO: I s So is another part of the exposure triangle. The Lexus control. The exposure often image as you increase I So the sense it becomes more sensitive to light . This allows us to capture more light without slowing down the shutter speed or making the aperture wider. If we increase the I say by one stopped for my so 204 100 to obtain the same exposure than I should to speed would need to be increased by one stop to. This means we can shoot a faster shutter speeds, which is great for hand holding in low light conditions. Let's go back to example, off the wedding ceremony in the dark church. Now we are shooting a couple getting married and are required. Should have speed starts to fall too slow to be able to freeze the motion In our couple, we can simply increase Aiso, which in turn will increase the shutter speed. This is great. Is it? Now? Alexis capture sharper images in low light conditions. Now there is a trade off with higher. So every time we increase the I, so we'll introduce more noise into the image. More noise means a soft at Granier looking photo cameras a different nose. Some will cope with ice, so noise better than others. Full frame cameras have largest senses that micro 4/3 for example, on these larger sensors coat with noise much better. I quite often shoot higher, say, 3200 junior wedding ceremony, and could still come away with great quality images. I would rather see a little bit of noise in my photo than a blurred shop. Because the shutter speed is too slow, noise could be reduced in postproduction, whereas blurred shots cannot be corrected at all. Another area that we might need to boost the IRS say, will be for landscape talk free quite often when shooting landscapes aperture maybe very narrow, allowing us to get a large depth of field mawr of the image in focus. This means less light is that into the camera, meaning using a slower should to speed to gain the desired exposure. Now, even when the camera is on a tripod there times and we still need to raise the ire so this is generally down to motion blur. When the wind gets up, trees and bushes and grasses will start moving around like crazy. If we wish to freeze these elements that will need a quick shutter speed, say, maybe around 125th of a second to help raise our shutter speed, we can boost the air. So as we did before, with a wedding example, freezing the motion will result in an overall sharper image. 7. 07 APERTURE: the aperture makes up the final part off the exposure triangle and allows us to have a creative effect on the image. To AH wide aperture allows more like to pass into the camera but also gives us a shallow depth of field. The shallow depth of field means that the area that is, except to be sharp is very narrow, and this is great for portrait when we wish to isolate our subject from the background, having a large depth of field means most. Or if not all of the photo is acceptably sharp from front to back or in focus. This is great for Landscape Photographer. Choosing the right luck is a creative choice on one which the photographers full control over there are no right or wrongs. Having a very shallow depth of field can be great for portrays, but careful attention should be given to make sure enough of the subject is in focus. Usually for a tight head shot, I'll focus on the nearest I to the camera. Getting the eye sharp is essential if my depth of field is very, very shallow than F 1.8 on my 85 millimeter lens and I would usually take several shots as my in focus area could be less than an inch, meaning the success rate of naming focus becomes more difficult. Having three or four shots to choose from will really help get sharper images. 8. 08 HAND HOLDING: in bright conditions. Hand holding the camera is easy as a shutter speed will likely be high enough to eradicate camera shake. If, however, when conditions become darker, having a really good hand holding technique will allow us to get much job images at slow shutter speeds. Now a rule of thumb is not to allow the shutter speed to drop below the focal length that you're shooting with. Say, for example, if I'm shooting with a 35 millimeter lens, then I wouldn't let my shutter speed dropped below 1/40 of a second. If I was shooting at 200 millimeters, that I wouldn't let my shirt to speed dropped below 1 2/100 of a second. The longer the focal length of the lens faster, the shutter speed needs to be to eradicate camera shake. Now, many lenses and cameras have stabilization. Say, for example, this lenses, optical image stabilization or oi s telling. This aren't means that lens has a mechanism that physically moves the camera lens to compensate for camera movement. This can reduce camera shake on will allow us to shoot slow shutter speeds. The mentioned before this particular lens has 3.5 stops of image stabilization. So if we're shooting at 35 millimeters like before and we have, it s turned on, we can now get away with shooting and even darker conditions. We can now last two speed be reduced by 3.5 stops, down from 1/14 of a second to 1/4 of a second, and still get sharp images. Some cameras have IBIs built in, which essentially means the sensor is moving inside the camera body to reduce camera shake . My fuji X H one has 5.5 stops of image stabilization, meaning I can reduce my shutter speed even further. Using the example mentioned that I could now to shoot at one second and still get a sharp image, the longer they should to speed. The more light is look into the camera, meaning we can shoot even darker environments. Handheld. Don't worry, though. If your camera doesn't have IBIs, you can still use good technique to obtain sharp photos in low light. Having a good posture and stance really help, try placing one foot in front of the other around the shoulder's width apart, lean slightly forward, but keep relaxed this should feel comfortable but not forced in anyway. Coming down on one knee will also help in shooting at a lower angle. Try to avoid holding the camera out in front of you. Is this guy really introduced? Shake. Having a nice grip on the camera is essential. I would advise holding the lens of the left hand first. Let the left hand take the weight of the camera, then bring the right hand to the grip. I think the left hand should take most of the cameras weight and took in the left elbow into your side or stomach will help to create a stable platform to shoot From next, bring the camera up to your eye. Now. This means that you now have three points of contact with the camera to your body. That's providing the most amount of stability now. I wouldn't advise holding your breath, but just keeping the breathing slow and relaxed. Try shooting just as you finish the inhale. This is when I'm most stable and works best for May. But practicing this method can really help you to achieve sharper photos When hand holding the camera 9. 09 TRIPODS: using a tripod or modern pod can really help to achieve sharp images when the camera is locked down on a tripod, there will be no movement from the camera unless we're shooting in really windy conditions . And this is great, as allows us to shooting more challenging lighting conditions. When I'm shooting a landscapes old generally use a tripod on. The reason for this is that I'm usually shooting with a smaller aperture side around fatally left 11 meaning less light will be allowed through the lens. And this means that more often than not, my should speed is fairly slow to gain the correct exposure. Now. Having the combat lock down means I can get really sharp images if conditions are really windy. But I'll hang my camera bag on the hook on the center column to add weight and reduce any vibrations from the wind. It's worth mentioning that when you have the camera locked in a tripod, having your lenses, image stabilization or camera IBIs turned off is definitely advisable. Sports photographers often use Ma Nepad's as sport lenses tend to have longer focal lengths , meaning more weight and faster required should to speed for hand holding Mona pods are great for sport because they offer stability and flexibility, which helps people move quickly from position to position. If you're considering purchasing a tripod, my advice would be to buy the best you can possibly afford. As many of the cheaper models really aren't durable enough, seeing your gate tumbled down a help is the last thing you want. A good tripod can outlast several camera bodies, so it's definitely a worthwhile investment. 10. 10 LENS CHOICE: choosing the right lens could make a big difference to how sharp are final. Image is cheaper kit Zoom lenses will often be softer than more expensive professional glass. Then it stands to reason. Professional lenses cost a lot more, have better optics and usually a large a minimum aperture minute. Better low light performance. Certain lenses will be better for certain types of photography. Take this 23 millimeter F one point for it creates Lovely portrayed this tense 24 4 lenses grateful landscapes. But the minimum capture of therefore isn't great for separating the subject. And F four isn't great for low light conditions of shooting hand held. So for that reason, it isn't a good option for wedding photography. Prime lenses tend to be sharper than zoom lenses, so if you're looking for really sharp images, then problems may be the way to go. Prime lenses are fixed focal length lenses and usually have a large minimum aperture, making them great for weddings and portrait. The downside, though, is that you'll be stuck with one focal length and you'll need to zoom with your feet as opposed to the lens. I love shooting with primes and use these three for my wedding work. Every lens will have a sweet spot, meaning that particular F number. The lens will be optically at its sharpest. This tends 24 millimeter lens is at its sharpest between F 5.6 and F eight. When stopping down or making aperture very small. By selecting a large F number, say F 16 or F 22 the image becomes a lot softer. This is because of lens diffraction. As the optic becomes very, very small. The light refracts is it passes through the very small hole, meaning that the image becomes softer. This is common with most lenses, even high end professional glass. Almost all lenses will be soft at when the apple trees fully open to like my F 1.4 on this 50 millimeters Nikon lens, I highly advise testing your lenses by taking a series of test shots of different apertures . This way you'll have a better understanding of your lenses capabilities 11. 11 THE BEST CAMERA: I always say the best camera is the one that you have with you. And quite often we've always got a smartphone with us smartphones and now becoming so good that they're more than capable of taking really high quality images to make the sharpest photos possible from a smartphone, I would highly recommend moving away from the inbuilt native camera app and trying up that will let you take full control over the camera. There, lots of free apps available. I'm currently using Hedge Come to It lets me take complete control over my shutter speed my ice. So my focus, my white balance and much mutual. It also has some great features, such as the hissed a gram, which helps now the exposure. Essentially, this almost turns the phone into a DSLR. It's great from two so highly recommend taking more control over your smartphone and start taking better images. 12. 12 EDITING FOR SHARPNESS: I just want to briefly talk about making your photo sharp during the editing process. If you're shooting in raw, which are highly recommend is it gives the most amount flexibility editing, then the raw fire would almost certainly require some sharpening. How you do this is completely subjective, but other rule of thumb This is how I go about it from a documentary work. I go ahead on the day, be light rooms, default, sharpening on as I find this gives just the right amount of overall sharpening for how wish might images to look. It's also very quick when dealing with many, many images. If I'm shooting a portrait, then I'll turn the sharpening down. As I'm not looking to sharpen the skin, I simply just paint a little bit of sharpness where I need it with an adjustment brush for my landscape work. I like to take complete control over my Scharping, and for this I take the image into photo shop on Add unsure art mask on painting the sharpness with an adjustment layer mask. I can get really selective here by increasing or decreasing the A positive of my brush. I never usually sharpen skies but rocks. On the other hand, I do. With this technique, you could be very decisive about which areas off the image are really sharp, which are not. 13. 13 GO SHOOT: Thanks for taking the time to watch my class. Please dig. Go ahead and join in with the class project. I would love to see your work. If you are interested in the focus in class only that one in the description for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section. If you'd like to Seymour content like this, please be sure to drop me a follow. That way you'll be notified the next time I make a new class. Take it and I will see you next time.