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11-27-2008, 04:42 PM   #1
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What is your technique to hand hold the camera still

QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Holding a camera rock steady is a skill.
I thought I would make a brand new thread with this quote from Creampuff from another thread. He is exactly right. It is a skill to hold the camera still. A skill I would love to have and know. What technique do you use? What works best for you. Please share.....

11-27-2008, 05:36 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eastern Shore Charlie Quote
I thought I would make a brand new thread with this quote from Creampuff from another thread. He is exactly right. It is a skill to hold the camera still. A skill I would love to have and know. What technique do you use? What works best for you. Please share.....
Depends - what lens? If no tripod or monopod, often like a biathlete (ski/shoot) in the standing position, etc.
11-27-2008, 05:47 PM   #3
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I often find that taking a deep breath and then exhale - that moment of silence and no need of movement is the time to snap a photo. If you can find a place to prop your elbows - that's good. Also, a grip on your camera helps a lot in terms of balance - you'd be surprised, but for the most part the first thing I mentioned is the best hands down.

-Brian
11-27-2008, 06:04 PM   #4
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agree with the breathing.

11-27-2008, 06:09 PM   #5
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+2 on the breathing. Sniper style.
Also try to avoid chicken wing elbows... it's bad for golf and it's bad for taking photographs.
11-27-2008, 06:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
Depends - what lens? If no tripod or monopod, often like a biathlete (ski/shoot) in the standing position, etc.
In my case the 300M* is supposed to be hand held easily. I have to much camera shake and wonder what other people do and wonder how they brace their hands for the heavier lenses. Elbows braced against their chest. Balance of the camera in their hands. Just wondering what I can do to improve my technique. Something I have never thought of or tricks other people do besides putting the camera on a tripod You brought up a good point the way you stand....balanced. Do I pay attention to my feet when I am shooting....I doubt it....I will next time...
11-27-2008, 06:12 PM   #7
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Holding a camera

I hold my K10D pretty much the same way I was taught to hold my Spotmatic.

I cradle the camera in my left palm, with the bulk of the camera weight on the heel of my hand. My thumb and index finger wrap around the lens and control the zoom ring. On manual lenses, this hand also controls the focus and aperture rings, if present. My left elbow is tucked into my side, as tightly as it can be.

I just looked closely (for the first time in a long time) at this arrangement. I notice that the weight of the camera is on a straight line that goes from the camera to my palm to my wrist to my forearm to my elbow to my ribcage. It takes almost no muscle effort to hold the camera. All the weight is carried by my bones and ribs. Its sort of the corrolary of the maxim about lifting with your legs, and keeping your spine straight. This puts all the weight on your bones, not your muscles, which can tire and quiver.

My left hand supports virtually the entire weight of the camera.

My right hand curls around the right side of the camera. My index finger is poised over the shutter button. My second finger is used for the front e-dial. The other two grip the builtin hand grip on the front of the camera. My thumb operates the rear e-dial. The right hand carries no weight. It helps stabilize the camera and operates the controls, but all the weight is carried by my left hand.

I stand straight up, with my feet spread slightly to give me a more stable stance.

If possible, I lean against something solid, such as a wall or a lamppost.

If there is a small wall or something in front of me, I have been known to put my left foot up on the wall and rest my left elbow on my left knee, making an impromptu monopod.

I usually inhale and hold my breath. At that moment, I trip the shutter.

Paul Noble
11-27-2008, 06:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
My left hand supports virtually the entire weight of the camera.

My right hand curls around the right side of the camera. My index finger is poised over the shutter button. My second finger is used for the front e-dial. The other two grip the builtin hand grip on the front of the camera. My thumb operates the rear e-dial. The right hand carries no weight. It helps stabilize the camera and operates the controls, but all the weight is carried by my left hand.
This is exactly how I hold my camera as well.

11-27-2008, 06:25 PM   #9
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Good stuff gents.......keep it rolling...my chicken wing camera holding stlye will improve..
11-27-2008, 06:34 PM   #10
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Just some things I always do:

1-always hold the camera from below (especially important when shooting portrait-oriented)

2-exhale, hold breath mid-way

3-rest your elbows on the sides of your body, squeezing your torso so to speak

4-one foot slightly in front of the other, boxing-style

5-straight back ad legs

6helf-press, take your time, fully press the shutter

That's it! I've taken some very good 1/5 seconds shots that way.
11-27-2008, 06:49 PM   #11
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Jabbing the shutter button is a big no-no, easily a cause for unsharp images.
But you'd be surprised how many people do it without realizing it, especially when they are nervous.
11-27-2008, 06:53 PM   #12
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Most times I actually shoot from a squat. I know it is strange but I like viewing from a low angle and so I have to discipline myself to stand upright. I definitely squeeze my elbows into my sides when I am shooting with the bigma hand held. Maybe not the most relaxed position but it helps keep me steady with that long heavy lens.
11-27-2008, 06:56 PM   #13
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Same stance and basic grip I would use if the camera was a teeny tiny rifle...

I'm right handed and left eyed so my left eye is in the viewfinder and my right is staring at my thumbnail (if it's open).

Standing Position/Stance:
legs comfortably shoulder width apart;
left foot turned slightly outward;
torso turned slightly to the left;
left arm tucked in so the upper arm lays flat against my chest and elbow falls directly below the breast pocket (if there);
heel of left hand supports the "stock" base of the camera;
left thumb and middle finger control zoom ring;
left index finger controls focus ring (if manual focusing);
right upper arm / elbow essentially the same as left but the other side (duh);
heel of my right hand just barely curls under the battery grip (YMMV);
right thumb on the AF button;
right index finger on the shutter.

Oy lots of words there, but not complicated - it's actually rather natural. It's a solid stance that affords balance and stability and bracing your arms/elbows against the chest also helps prevent fatigue from hoisting heavy lenses.
11-27-2008, 07:05 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eastern Shore Charlie Quote
In my case the 300M* is supposed to be hand held easily. I have to much camera shake and wonder what other people do and wonder how they brace their hands for the heavier lenses. Elbows braced against their chest. Balance of the camera in their hands. Just wondering what I can do to improve my technique. Something I have never thought of or tricks other people do besides putting the camera on a tripod You brought up a good point the way you stand....balanced. Do I pay attention to my feet when I am shooting....I doubt it....I will next time...
Of course that technique requires controlled breathing... sometimes holding your breath for a period of time. Normally I will not breathe while shooting - and not even think about it. It's sort of autopilot mode for much of the time when I shoot - much like when I did elite endurance sports. It's all intrinsic, requiring little or no thought after I'm dialed in on the camera settings I want. Otherwise you risk a lot of soft/blurred images if the shutter speeds are not really high.

Controlling your body, the way you squeeze the shutter button (not press!) is critical, and is holding the heavier lens to ensure little or no shake when using longer focal lengths (300-600mm). My hand is always under or over the FA* 300/2.8, the Sigma 500/4.5, and when I had the chance to use the FA* 250-600/5.6. Same deal for every lens. As you know, excellent technique is critical for long lenses and macro.

I used to shoot small caliber rifles, and grouping all shots within 2 inches of the target was not uncommon at 22 yards, even in light winds.

Regards,
Marc
11-27-2008, 09:02 PM   #15
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Thank you all for taking the time to share....I got some great advice to work with....Charlie
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