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Camera Workflow And Avoiding Blurry Photos

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I typed this up the other day in a reply on a post and thought I would make a post for it instead as well. Firstly, It got a little longer than I planned, What am I talking about I never planned anything here :)


If I was to mention a disclaimer It would have to be that i'm not saying this is the way you should or shouldn't work your camera, this is just my thoughts on paper to share with others, If I get corrected or suggested a new method I would LOVE to hear it as I may be missing something right in front of me.


I was messing around this morning as my indoor christmas photos did not turn out as good as I wanted and realized that although my nice lenses that shoot 1.8 and 2.8 aperture are nice I still need flash to get the sharpness I expect when I get back to the computer.

Further more, I realized in AV mode my darn camera would consistently meter under a shutter speed of 60 and would get a slow shot so my blur was increased. Two issues I wasn't happy with.


The Solution :


For indoor shots when in doubt I found some research that suggested the following settings - Manual Mode, Shutter speed set to 1/60th, ISO forced at 400, External Flash "ON"

Tested and BAMN - Instantly better indoor shots!


Then I got looking through the settings, I really like AV mode as it is fast and Easy (My preferred setting) and I found the setting I needed.


I shoot Canon so I'm not sure where the equivalent is on a Nikon my apologies.


- Go to the Custom Function menus (C.FN I: Exposure)

- On my 60d menu option "7"

- Flash Sync Speed in AV Mode

- Set this to 1/250 - 1/60th sec "Auto"


With this setting your camera will NOT fall below 1/60th of a second in Aperture mode, this is great because if I want a slow shutter speed I will use TV or Manual anyway.


Hope this is helpful to someone, I know it is a gold mine find for me.


I copy / pasted my workflow below from the existing post as I promised as well for those it may help as well.


Aperture Priority Mode (AV) :


** Used when I want a nice blurred background, faster shoot time so I don't have time to adjust manual settings for every shot (My most used mode)


Item's I do in my head and then set the camera...


1) I generally like low ISO photos so there not grainy so I keep around 400 or less (Keep in mind you can easily do 800 or higher and get great photos as well (generally i'm probably set to AUTO and watch how high it goes)

2) How much Blur do I want in the photo - Lots I go with about 2.8, if there is more than one person and I don't want a blurred face on a 2nd subject at least 4.0

3) Meter your photo (1/2 press shutter button, or if you are using the AF-ON for back button focus) and check your shutter speed that is calculated... With a NON IS lens try to be "atleast" over 50 if you shake you want to be higher until your comfortable. Rule of thumb is to shoot with a mininum shutter speed for the distance your set to. Example 50mm = shutter speed of atleast 50 with a NON IS Lens for sharpness.


If your happy with the shutter speed "Shoot away", if it's too low you need to go to a larger aperture like 2.8 or 1.4 for more light as ISO on auto will already be up to 3200 which I find too high.


Lastly, if your shutter speed is still to slow and your scared of blurry photos from shake (switch to TV "Shutter Pirority Mode")


"UPDATE" I've now adjusted my camera as mentioned above to never shoot below 1/60th so I should not have to switch modes


Shutter Priority Mode (TV) :


** Used when you want a motion shot, stop motion, or low light situations to force a set shutter speed


1) Again I leave ISO to Auto and watch if it starts to go to high

2) If i'm going for motion I would go lower IE 1/4" to 20th of a second for slow subjects, 40-60 for walking, and 80-higher for stopping action of faster subjects (general starter i'm just throwing this out there)

## If i'm indoors I will use TV mode to force shutter speed to 60 as an example and let Aperture and ISO fall where they may as a sharp photo is what i'm after, if the light is still too dark, slow the shutter speed to let in more light

(Advanced users : If you set your mininum shutter speed for A/V mode to 60 or higher you can avoid this switch to TV mode to control shutter speed and stay in AV mode)

3) Meter your photo (same method as above) and check your Aperture if it's what your after IE 2.8 for Blur, 4 - 5.6 for little blur and little sharpness overall, and 8 or higher for detail just shoot it and forget it.


If your happy with the Aperture "Shoot Away", if it's too low and you are doing a group shot you need a higher aperture also so your in a bind and have to lower your shutter speed so you can increase your Aperture to a smaller size like 4 or 5.6 etc


Manual Mode (M) :


** Used when I want 'complete' control over the photo and have time to adjust the settings like Portraits, Water shots like streams etc, landscape


1) Set ISO to your liking, with good light I will keep it at 100 - 400 ISO

2) Set my Shutter Speed - 30 - 60 atleast or else use a tripod, higher depending on the motion i'm trying to stop

3) Set my Aperture - for blur larger sizes like 1.4 - 4 (Portraits) Sharper Detail 5.6 - 8 (More than one subject) Detail for Everything 8 or higher (Landscapes)

4) Meter your photo (Same as above) and look at your meter 3..2..1..0..1..2..3

You will then have to adjust your shutter speed or aperture to bring to a correct exposure (zero setting) and review your settings. If everything is still good "Shoot Away"


If you adjust for correct exposure and shutter is too slow you need to use a tripod, larger aperture, or higher ISO for more light

If you adjust for correct exposure and Aperture is too large or too small you need to adjust shutter speed or ISO


If you can't get the settings for the shot you need to move to more light etc until you have an area that will work.


I've never really put my process on paper before, I'm no expert by any means and would never claim this is perfect but I know it works for me. Any questions let me know I hope it helps.


Finally, Try AV and TV mode first, shoot full manual when the scene calls for it and you have time to set the camera for it. Don't frustrate yourself and enjoy your new camera.


Good Luck!

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I use 'auto' at all times, so once again I must say 'Huh! But thanks for trying. Little grey haired, common garden variety granny here.

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I really appreciate all of your very helpful information -it's good to have our very own camera guru here!

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Still trying to learn all this...problem is just as I was getting to know my camera...the kids busted it. Now I've got a different one and have to start all over again, since it is a different brand altogether. Thanks for the great synopsis. It's good to be able to find it all in one place. Love the ScrapGirls One-stop-shop!

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I am definitely going to re read this!

I took photography as a kid and forgot most of it.

I've got a new camera and I'm re-learning all over again.

Thanks! I look forward to trying this out.

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Thanks for this info. I just bought a Nikon D5100 and am trying to learn about aperture, ISO, etc. Lots to learn!!

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Great advice - going to print this out to have as a guide for "when I don't know what I'm doing!" Thanks so much!

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That was great advice. I have a nikon D90 and I don't know how to use it to the best. So I'm going to try your ideas. I went to mexico and all my indoor shots were terrible. Now I know why!! Thanks again.

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