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How to Hold a Camera Safely and Steadily for Great Travel Images

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Holding a camera safely and steadily is one of the key moments for getting great quality images. By combining it with Shutter Speed vs. Focal Length Rule you will get the sharpest travel photographs possible. Whether you have recently bought your first DLSR camera or it's been with you for a while, check out these 8 easy steps and make sure you hold your camera correctly for the maximum steadiness and the best results.

To keep the camera steady, it is important to spread the weight of it as evenly as possible by using multiple points of contact with your own body or other objects. This will not only help you keep the camera at its maximum stability, but will also relieve the strain and tiredness after a long day of photography.

1. Hold that grip

When photographing in landscape orientation, grip your camera firmly with your right hand and place your index finger on shutter release. In this position, your right thumb helps holding the camera and can be used for accessing controls in the back of your camera at the same time. To support the weight of the camera, rest the lens on your left hand by holding it from underneath. This position will allow you to turn the lens barrel for zooming and focusing, while keeping the camera steady.

NB! Do not place your left hand on the top of the lens: while this position may seem to be ok to use the zoom, it will only reduce the stability of the camera.

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2. Tuck your elbows in

Arms also play an important part in camera stability. Tuck your elbows into your body to give more support to your camera and to spread its weight more evenly.

NB! Do not keep your elbows in the air while photographing to avoid adding any additional strain to your hands.

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3. Eyebrow contact

One more point of camera contact with the body is your eyebrow. Use your camera's viewfinder whenever possible, unless you are using a tripod. Rest the viewfinder against your eyebrow for extra steadiness in your position.

NB! Try looking through the viewfinder with a different eye than you are used to. I noticed that even though my right eye is the "leading" one, I am more comfortable photographing by looking with my left eye as I do not have to squint and can keep both of my eyes open at the same time. You may make some interesting discoveries!

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4. Portrait orientation

If you need to switch to portrait orientation, turn your camera so that the shutter release is at the top together with your right hand. Keep your left elbow tucked into your body, just like in landscape orientation.

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5. Positioning of legs

For a more balanced and sturdy position, place your legs slightly apart and bring one foot slightly forward than the other.

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6. Hold your breath

If you are photographing in low light without a tripod and the shutter speed is 1/30 sec or slower, remember to hold your breath when pressing the shutter release. Even our breath may influence the sharpness of the images!

7. Rest your elbows

Look around you for any level surface that can act as a horizontal support for resting your elbows while photographing in low light. Even if you are using a compact camera or a smartphone, an extra support for elbows is always a plus!

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8. Lean against a wall

If there is no horizontal support around, lean against anything vertical, such as a wall or a tree. Remember to keep your elbows tucked in, as well as to rest the viewfinder against your eyebrow and to hold your breath!

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Follow these simple tips on holding your camera correctly and share your results with us!

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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.