Image sharpness to us photographers can be an obsession, a secondary concern, or something that’s just plain tricky to achieve. I used to rate it as secondary to the stories my images were telling until I realized it’s easy to consistently have both.
Most articles on this topic are aimed at landscape photographers, but most of the tips below are geared towards handheld photography. Whether you’re a portrait, travel, documentary, street, or any other kind of photographer shooting without a tripod, these tips will help you get sharp images every time.
1. Choose a Shorter Lens and Focal Length
A solid place to begin your quest for sharp images is to use a shorter lens and focal length. Longer focal lengths are more sensitive to camera shake, whereas shorter ones are more forgiving. You might have noticed a lot of prime lenses, even the expensive ones, don’t come with built-in optical stabilization. That’s because of their increased ability to deal with camera shake plus the faster shutter speeds their wide apertures allow. My personal prime of choice is the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art, which I used to take the photo below. I love the image sharpness it produces in both daylight and low light conditions.