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How to take better photos that are clear and sharp

Updated on March 14, 2015

Take clear sharp photos

There are millions of new photos being shot every day, of all of the photos taken; the majority of them are not very good because of a few simple mistakes.

If you have the basic knowledge of what it takes to make a good clear and sharp photo, and you take a few seconds to prepare just before you take it, you can assure that most of your photos will be good, clear and sharp and you will be proud to show them off to family and friends.


There are a few key things that you need to think about before you push the shutter button. The most important thing is light and how it affects your photos. Even entry-level cameras take a light meter reading and give you the shutter speed and aperture settings before you take the shot. I

t is helpful to understand what they mean but it is not necessary to take good shots. A basic rule of thumb to remember is if the shutter speed is 1/30 or slower, slower meaning the bottom number is smaller; you should use your flash. There are many variables that you can change to affect this but if you remember that, it will help enormously.

Animal portrait photo by steve pease
Animal portrait photo by steve pease


The second thing you should be concerned about is if the subject or the camera is moving, even slightly, you should use your flash.  This means if you are shooting a flower and there is a breeze blowing it around, the shot will blur if you don’t use a flash or a very high shutter speed.  If you are photographing kids playing, you should use a flash to freeze the movement and not blur the shot.  If you are shooting a moving object you will need to pan but that technique is for a different article.

Landscape photo projects

Book on special landscape projects that will make you a better photographer.


The next key thing to check before you snap the shot is distance.  Are you only far enough away to get the whole subject?  Fill the entire photo with the subject of the shot, that allows for a better shot and eliminates a lot of unwanted objects in the shot. 


Clutter in a photo can ruin a good photo. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to keep out distracting and unneeded items from the shot. Make sure that when someone looks at your photo they know exactly what the subject of the shot is. You can use complimentary things in the shot but don’t have more than 1 subject in the shot. If you have 2 good subjects, take 2 photos. A family shot of 4 people is still only 1 subject.

I took the photos below to illustrate the point. You can see that the first photo is not really a bad photo, but you have no idea what the subject of the photo is. The chairs in the background are distracting or could even be the subject, only the shooter knows what they were trying to capture. The other photo uses some items that add to the photo, but there is no doubt what the subject of the photo is

yard photo by Steve Pease
yard photo by Steve Pease
Another yard photo by Steve Pease
Another yard photo by Steve Pease


The final thing to look for before you take the shot is the focus.  Once you know what the subject of the photo is, make sure that the sharp focus of the shot is the subject.  In the case of a portrait, focus on the eyes of the person you are photographing.

If you quickly focus on these 5 things before you push the shutter button, most of your photos will be greatly improved and you will be able to take clear sharp photos that you will be proud to share with others

If you would like to read some other good photo tips check out these.

How to pick the right digital camera

How to take great vacation photos

How to take picture of beautiful flowers


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    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I agree about clutter in the background. I never realized how distracting that was until I started to get into photography. Lighting is so important too. I think that's one of the most difficult to get right. Thanks for the tips!

    • profile image

      photo-medic 4 years ago

      very interesting.

    • profile image

      Robert traylor 5 years ago

      Clera up photo