How to do the Shutter Release Technique

A critical step towards improving your photography would be to perfect your shutter release technique. It may seem silly that pushing a button requires practice, but doing it wrong can seriously compromise your images.

Step 1: Set Up

The common problem that occurs with improper shutter release is motion blur. The human error involved in pushing a button often moves the camera while exposure is taking place. This results in a less than crisp image. To avoid this, try to keep your shutter speed relatively quick. Any setting from a 1/125 or above should keep your image unaffected only by the pressure of your finger. However, sometimes you cannot afford such a fast speed, so be sure to set your camera on a tripod. These suggestions will not necessarily help with fast action or sports, but it will at least compensate for the influence of your finger.

Step 2: Half-Way

On digital cameras, there is an intermediate level in the shutter release button. If you push the shutter release button down half-way, the camera will perform some services for you. When using automatic settings, the camera will adjust its auto focus to what it thinks it should be. You can preview this setting through the viewfinder, and if you determine that the camera's guess is wrong, then you can choose not to take the shot. Some cameras are more intuitive than others, but for less advanced systems, first frame the item you want to focus in the middle of the frame. Depress the shutter release button half-way, and the camera should auto focus to that object. Now reframe for the photo that you want to take. As long as you do not lift your finger, the camera should not change the focus that was set until after you fully depress the button to take your photo.

Step 3: Taking the Shot

Believe it or not, it is not natural for a person to move only their finger in any given situation. The human body is a fluidly connected entity and the slightest motion can affect the entire corpus. There is no way to get around this beyond practicing your technique as attentively as you can. Concentrate on maintaining your posture and strength as you move a single finger. Try different fingers and different arm arrangements to determine what stance will work best for you. Though in many cases you will not need such intense control, learning ahead of time will pay off when you find that perfect shot.

Step 4: Avoid Contact

If you are confronted with a situation where you will not be able to control the motion blur no matter what you do, then consider releasing the shutter without touching the camera at all. There are remote shutter release buttons available for most cameras, though many will not have the half-way capability. You can also attempt to use the timer function. Set the timer for three seconds so that your frame has time to settle between the push of the button and the actual shutter release.

Though the push of a button seems like a simple task, the shutter release technique requires a bit of finesse. Staying attentive will keep you in control.

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