DSLR Tips on How to Hold the Camera Properly

Last Updated on March 4, 2017 by PixelPluck

DSLR Tips on How to Hold the Camera Properly

One of the major issue with amateur photographers is that they hold the DSLR or any camera with wrong grip. This leads to camera shake and the photographs do not remain sharp. By holding the camera properly you can avoid and minimize the effects of camera shake. A good and firm grip with the correct hand and support from underneath means that, when you press the shutter release button, movement of the camera will be minimized. This will enable you to shoot sharper pictures while maintaining slow shutter speeds.

This will ensure sharper photographs at slow shutter speed. The idea is bringing the center of gravity close or inside your body by bringing the camera body close to you. It is much like driving a bike while sitting on it but in simpler terms. In the example below, the picture on the right shows a good grip, the heel of the left hand supports the camera from underneath. When the shutter is pressed with the right hand, the camera tends to move downward, the left hand in this position will compensate for any movement and will minimize the effect of this.

The position of shutter button on all the cameras are similar. This means that you can use the same grip for all kinds of DSLR camera. For compact cameras and smartphone cameras you must hold them using both your hands. Enable touch to focus & capture on smartphone. This minimizes number of steps involved and ensures quick, rightly focused and sharper image.

Here are additional tips that you should keep in mind while shooting photographs with your camera.

Use Left Eye to See the Outside Field of View

Almost all cameras are designed to be used with the right eye(unless it’s custom built), although it is possible to use them with the left. The advantage of using the right eye, is that the left eye is not blocked by the camera body or viewfinder and you can, if you want, keep it open to see what is going on outside of your field of view. The natural tendency is to shut your left eye, the better to concentrate on your picture, but with a little practice, you can get used to keeping it open. Having the left eye open enables you to see what is about to move into your frame, a useful thing when taking action shots. Also you can see what happens at the time when the exposure is being made and the mirror is blocking your view in the viewfinder.

DSLR Tips on How to Hold the Camera Properly

This is the way a lot of people hold their camera. But, as you can see, there is no real support under the camera, so camera shake is more likely. Also when you want to adjust the zoom, you have to re-position your hand. Recently there have been a flood of cameras with no viewfinder, you have to look at the screen to compose your picture. As a result some people find it more ‘natural’ to view in this way. But now you are holding the camera in a very unstable way.

Ultra compacts and camera phones have made matters even worse. Now you have to hold the camera with your finger tips, away from your face. Even I find it extremely difficult to hold such a camera still. The only way is to find some support for your elbows as in the picture below. When you use a telephoto lens, the need for support form underneath becomes more urgent. Not only because the weight distribution is now tipping the camera forward but also because the narrower angle of view will accentuate any camera shake.

The ‘good’ way of holding the camera recommended in this article translates very well to the portrait view as well. A lot of people take all their pictures in landscape format simply because it feels uncomfortable to hold the camera in the upright position. Holding it this way feels very comfortable. Wherever possible I would recommend using any extra support available. Especially when shooting in low light or with a dreaded camera phone.



camera grip tipsHolding the camera by the body only (left) means that when you move your hand to adjust the zoom, the tendency is to do it ‘over arm’ with your finger tips, as in the picture on the left.

Whereas an under arm grip cradles the camera in the palm of your hand, taking all the weight. Holding the camera in the right way might seem a little uncomfortable at first but in a very short time it will seem the most natural thing in the world.

Camera Straps

You will notice that there are no camera straps evident in any of these pictures. If there is even the slightest chance that you might drop your camera, use a strap. Modern cameras do not bounce. There are many fancy camera straps available which can also help you to include style quotient with your DSLR camera. Check out the DSLR straps here.

A Well Held Camera Makes a Big Difference

Even when there is plenty of light and the shutter speed is quite fast, you can see the difference between a well held camera and an unstable ‘grab shot’. The difference may be subtle but it will be there to see. People often think that the sharper results from a well held camera are due to a more expensive camera or lens. Better equipment does give you better results but only when you know how to use it properly. If you shoot a lot of portraits then consider getting yourself a DSLR grip for your camera model which will help you ergonomically.

Open Your Legs while Shooting photographs

This ensures additional stability. Opening your legs puts center of gravity close to your body and hence it is a recommended position. Also lowering your stance and putting your legs in different line (half a step ahead) is helpful in stabilizing the camera.

Read more: Photography Basics Tutorials here.

Let us know if you have any additional tips in comments below. We will include it in our post.

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