How to hold your camera? This one’s a no-brainer, surely? To most beginners, photography is all about learning composition, what settings to use and techniques to apply when taking portraits, landscapes or any other type of picture. But one of the fundamentals to grasp is actually how to hold your camera correctly when taking your photographs. Get this wrong and it totally undermines everything else you are trying to achieve. It’s equivalent to trying to build a house without laying foundations first.  

Basically what we want to achieve is a “shake – free” shot. Many a potentially decent photo is ruined because the camera was not held steadily in the first place. Even using post-production tricks in Photoshop will not mend a blurred image caused by shakiness. In all situations, the photographer must use every tool in his arsenal to take the very best shot he can, so that applications such as Photoshop are used only how intended, which is to enhance rather than repair. 

The exact method you should use will vary slightly depending on the type of camera you use but, as far as beginner’s photography tips go, apply the following and you will not go far wrong. 

Using your right hand, grip the right-hand end of the camera. Your forefinger should be poised above the shutter button, and your remaining fingers curled around the front. This leaves your thumb, which is gripping the camera back. Modern cameras have grips or indentations that naturally mimic this action. Generally, your left hand supports the weight of the camera, and will sit under or just around the lens, if using a Digital SLR. 

If using the viewfinder to line up your shot, the camera will naturally be close to your body, so this combined with the grip mentioned above will provide stability. If you are using an LCD screen to view your image, try not to hold the camera too far away from you, which is a habit easy to get into. Tuck your elbows in, and hold the camera just a short way away from your face (no more than 30 cm should do it). 

All you need to get right now is your stance – it’s no good having the right grip if your legs are unsteady. If available, use a wall or other solid object to lean against. The alternative is to kneel or sit down. Obviously, this is not always possible so if you are free standing you must make sure you are as stable as possible. The stance I have is to position the subject of my photograph at around 45 degrees to the left of my standing position. With my right foot pointing straight ahead I turn myself slightly to the left with my left foot at 45 degrees to the right foot (so my left foot is pointing straight at the subject). My feet are shoulder-width apart. 

And that’s it. A basic, but easy to take for granted, element of beginner’s photography, that if you get wrong can ruin a photo before it has even been taken. 

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