#56 Seven Tips for Getting Sharp & Crispy Photos


In this episode of Oh Shoot, Cassidy Lynne takes on today’s episode solo as she dives into seven tips for how you can get super sharp & crispy photos!

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Whether you’re a beginner photographer or have been doing this for 10 years, there are always times when you wonder why you missed focus or why your photos aren’t as sharp as you’d like. Here are 7 tips to help you get sharper photos!

Seven Tips For Getting Sharp & Crispy Photos

1. Shoot on AI Servo. 

If you shoot on a DSLR, there are two autofocus options: AI Servo and AI One-Shot. AI Servo tracks your subjects as they move and focus hits right before it takes the photos. AI One-Shot focuses right away, but if your subjects move the focus does not track with it. AI Servo will help you a lot with sharper images. If you use a Sony camera the autofocus is called Continuous AF which tracks your subjects continuously. 

2. Use manual spot focus. 

If you shoot on manual focus, where you adjust your focus ring, that won’t be the most efficient. Especially with your subjects moving all the time, you want to be using autofocus. Manual spot focus is an auto-focus mode where you can move the focus point on your screen. You’re telling you’re camera exactly where to focus. This gives you more control over where the focus will be on your subjects. With people, aim to put the focus spot on their eyes! If you’re not sure how to set it up with your specific brand of camera, then Google it and check the guide for your camera!

3. Bump up your aperture.

You don’t need to shoot at F15 for every session, but if you’re shooting at 1.4 all the time it could be a reason why you’re not getting super sharp photos. Photographing at the lowest apertures can make other things really blurry in your photos. Typically, I shoot at F 2.2, maybe 2. Your subjects will still be in focus with a nice bokeh background. Play around with your aperture and find where the sweet spot is on your camera!

4. Calibrate your lens.

If you haven’t calibrated your lens this could be a reason your photos aren’t sharp. To be honest I’m speaking to myself too! Do your research on how to do it yourself or take it to a professional who can calibrate your lens for you! 

5. Check your lens.

What I mean by this is to check the type of lens you have. Sometimes off-brand lenses can be fishy when it comes to sharpness. If you’re at a point where you can’t afford a Nikon, Sony, or Canon lens, off-brand lenses can be great for your budget but might struggle with focus. If you’re shooting with a lens that isn’t the native brand of your camera (like using a Sigma lens with your Canon camera), it could be a reason why you’re not getting sharp photos. This is something to think about before investing in your next camera lens!

6. Use the sharpening tool in Lightroom.

In Lightroom under the details section, you can raise the sharpness and change the detail and radius of a photo. Sometimes missing focus happens. By playing with the sharpness tool I’ve been able to sharpen images that end up looking really good! Even if you didn’t miss focus, but your images are slightly soft then this could be the solution for you! Zoom into your subjects and make sure you don’t notice a huge difference in the texture of your photo. The sharpening tool can be a lifesaver! 

7. Photograph your subjects on the same plane.

Imagine you have a group of 5 people and they’re in a straight line all shoulder to shoulder, but the end people are curved in a little bit. This is an example of your subjects not being on the same plane and it will affect your sharpness. Having people on the same plane is SO important for getting sharp photos with groups of people! This is the same with couples too, you want to try to keep them on the same plane. With couples, if one person is intentionally slightly behind (like in a prom pose), they won’t necessarily be 100% in focus. You can also try to have the person in the back bring their face to the same plane as the person in front of them.

Bottom line, if you’re trying to get everyone in focus, keep everyone on the same plane! 

Bonus Tip: Get a mirrorless camera.

Lastly, I truly believe getting a mirrorless camera will help you with focus. I just listed 7 ways to get sharper photos without upgrading your gear. However, getting a mirrorless camera and utilizing the eye-tracking software can help a TON with catching focus. On my Sony camera, I’m able to tell it “here are my subjects’ faces” and it will track them throughout the session. You don’t necessarily need a mirrorless camera, especially if you shoot slower-paced things where you have time to nail your focus. If you shoot events, weddings, sports, or anything faster-paced, and you can’t redo a moment, the tracking is awesome on mirrorless camera versus a DSLR. 

However, don’t think that your camera is the reason you’re having sharpness issues. A few things can be contributing to your lack of sharpness in photos like the reasons I went over. 

Hopefully, after listening to this episode you have some ideas on things to try to get sharper photos! Thank you so much for listening to Oh Shoot! and be sure to rate and review the podcast! 

Show Notes

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