How to hold your camera

Best practice for holding a camera

When you first unpack your new camera it can be a bit daunting. Finding the battery, switching it on, working out how to focus. Did you also know there's a good way and a bad way to hold your camera?

The thing with cameras is that it's very easy to get camera shake - where the photo seems smeared because you've moved it, even very slightly, while you pressed the shutter button.

 Chrysanthemum with camera shake

Chrysanthemum with camera shake

To avoid camera shake, you would ideally know all about shutter speed, and how to make sure it is fast enough for your light conditions (you can learn this free with my beginner's workshop - details at the end). But you would also hold your camera professionally, to lessen the chance of a slight wobble:

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1. Hold the camera firmly, but not over-tightly. You don't want to be tense. You're aiming for solid but not rigid. 

2. Support it with two hands - one to press the shutter button and the other to take the weight of the lens.

3. Keep breathing normally. If you hold your breath your body will start to shake, and these tremors will pass through to the camera. If you have done any actual shooting you might have learnt to fire the trigger at the end of an out-breath. The same applies with a camera - your body is most still just as you reach the bottom of an exhalation. 

4. Keep your elbows tight to your body to offer extra support.

5. When you press the shutter button, squeeze it gently, don't poke or prod it. 

6. This all assumes you're standing on solid ground. If you're on a boat, or anything that's moving, you will need to know about your shutter speeds to make sure you have a fast enough one.

Some things to avoid:

- don't shoot in a half-crouch - this is very unstable

- don't shoot with your elbows waving in mid-air

- don't shoot with the camera held away from your body (if you don't have a viewfinder you can't avoid this)

- don't shoot with bags over your shoulder - it makes you very wobbly

bad camera holding.jpg

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Join A Year With My Camera

My complete beginner's photography course, A Year With My Camera, teaches you everything you need to know about shutter speed and all the other controls on your camera. The email version is free. Join here and get started today:

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BeginnerEmma Davies