What's the Best Way to Avoid Blur

Night time photo of illuminated building at intersection near Nanjing Road in Shanghai, ChinaCanon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens.

What's the Best Way to Avoid Blur

Folks often ask me about ways to avoid blur. Assuming you've focused carefully and accurately on your subject you'd assume you'd be able to achieve a sharp result.

However, if subject (e.g. kids, clouds or water) or camera movement results, during the process of tripping the camera's shutter, you could try to counteract it in your next exposure by opening the lens's aperture wider (e.g. f4 instead of f5.6 or f8) or, alternatively, by increasing your camera's ISO. Both options will have the effect of increasing the camera's Shutter Speed.

The faster the Shutter Speed the less chance of movement, either camera or subject.

With the latest DSLR's I think the decision to increase the ISO is more and more appealing. With an older DSLR camera care should be taken as noise can be introduced at ISO's of 800 or higher.

HDR - An Added Complication

What's more any noise associated with files tends to be amplified when they are combined into the single, composite image during HDR workflow. To reduce the likelihood of this problem I'd be checking each file, at 100% magnification, for noise and applying noise reduction in Lightroom prior to combining the images into a single composite image within the HDR application.


Under ideal circumstances you'd be working in RAW and moving the histogram as far to the right as possible, without letting anything other than specular (pure white) areas from hitting the right hand edge of the histogram. To do so it's usually best to adjust (i.e. lower/slow) your Shutter Speed as that won't interfere with the desired Depth Of Field (DOF).

Of course if you're not fully committed to processing all your RAW files on the desktop set your camera to JPEG and allow the camera to do a reasonable job processing them for you. In this case it's not about what's best, its about what's the most appropriate option for you. And for most folks, as they don't want to process images on the desktop, JPEF is the most appropriate option. Controversial, but true!

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru