5 Tips for Getting Crisp Photographs

One of the questions I get most often is about sharpness. A lot of new photographers feel like their images just aren’t as crisp as professional photographs. So today, I’d like to share a few tips on getting really crisp photos!

How To Get Crisp Photographs | Nicole's Classes

1. Have Proper Focus

It really could be as simple as that! Make sure you are focusing on the most important thing in your photo. Typically with people, it’s the eyes. Otherwise, it’s what is telling the story and directing the story. Try setting your focus points (if your camera has that feature) on auto focus to help you achieve really sharp focus.

2. Analyze Depth of Field

Some people think their photo isn’t sharp because it isn’t properly focused, when in fact, it is! Having shallow depth of field means that something can be in focus while other elements in the scene are not in focus. Shallow depth of field helps force the viewer to focus on whatever is in focus. If you want more elements in your photo to be in focus, use a higher f-stop number for deeper depth of field.

3. Use Great, Clean Light

Stronger light is helpful for sharper-looking images because it adds contrast. But, if you don’t want/like strong light, just try for a catchlight. Catchlights are reflections of the light source in your subject’s eye. Turning your subject toward the light (or using a fill or other bouncing light source) will help add more light to the eyes. Avoid shooting with unflattering light or overhead sun.

4.  Exposures

Dull or dark exposures are great for mood and drama, but you need some contrast to make the photo appear sharp. Making sure your photos aren’t over or underexposed exposed will ensure you get a crisp and clean image.

5. Better Lenses are Often… Better! 

So many are frustrated with the “kit” lenses that come with their camera. Most of you have or at least started with something similar to the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6, and while that lens is great for a beginner, it’s made with very cheap glass. It makes sense that a nicer, clearer piece of glass would help create a more clear, sharp image, right? So unfortunately, that means the nicer and more expensive lenses are in fact better. Consider renting a prime lens like the 50mm f1.4 or the 85mm f1.4 to test out their sharpness before purchasing.

For more Photo basics, join me in my Photo 101 online class! You’ll learn so much about your camera and how to get better exposures and crispness using manual settings!

  1. 1

    Great tips Nicole! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. 2

    Yes! So very want to join your class…camera suggestions for the photo junkie? I want to upgrade so that it will keep me and my blog busy for a while….even slowly elbow into the professional land…thoughts? thanks so much! xxoo

  3. 3

    That’s a gorgeous photo! I’ll definitely take these tips into consideration the next time I shoot!

  4. 4

    I love these tips, simple and to the point! Just my style! TY!

  5. 5

    Number 1 is for sure the most important–especially focusing on the eyes in a portrait. I love shooting with a shallow depth of field, so I always make sure to focus on the eyes.

  6. 6

    Short and sweet advice for all keen photographers.:) Love the photo.

  7. 7

    Great tips for beginner photographers. However, I wouldn’t agree on the “cheap glass”, “bad lens” qualifications for the 18-55.

    I think it’s an excellent lens and frequently underestimated by a lot of photographers just because it is a kit lens.

    The build quality isn’t superior, but the lens is great and produces sharp images. It all depends on what you shoot. For groups, this lens is amazing.

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