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Why do my Photos Come out Blurry?

Posted by on October 21, 2012

This post was inspired by a search term that ended up on my blog last week.  “Why do my photos come out blurry?”

So I thought I’d take the time to answer this question:

1) Lighting

2) Depth of Field

3) Camera Shake

4) Movement of Subject

5) Out of Focus

So lets go further in explaining how these factors affect your photos.


Have you ever taken a photo indoors or during the night that came back blurry?  Most likely the reason is because your shutter speed and ISO was far too low for the camera to capture the image.  Night photography is one of the trickiest shots to get, and along with indoor photography with artificial lighting.

(My ISO was too low for this image so the shot came out blurry!)

Most shots taken indoors or at night need to have a shutter speed of at least 1/60.  In a lot of the nicer digital cameras, to help your shots come out, you just have to up the ISO so the shot can be captured.  Otherwise, putting the camera on a tripod can also help tremendously.

I upped the ISO, and lo and behold, the shot came out clear

Depth of Field:

The depth of field is when you take a picture of an image.  Either the subject will be in focus and the background is out of focus, or else the background will be focus, and the subject will be out of focus.  The small the depth of field, the more the background becomes blurred out.

So if you have a subject that fits in the majority of your shot, depending on how small your depth of field is, the shot may come back blurry.

The shot is really in focus in front, but the back and the sides are all blurred out.  This is a small depth of field.   In some photos, such as the one above, it really brings out the shot.

Camera Shake:

Cameras are happiest when a photo is taken without them being touched. For the most part, during the day, cameras can handle the littlest of movements and the pictures come out fine.  It’s at night and indoors, when cameras need as little movement as possible.  Cameras work a lot harder in these situations with the processors and the shutter.  So the tiniest of movements can really throw a photo off.

At night, it is so important to have a tripod.  The tripod will take away that camera shake.  A lot of professional photographers also carry a remote control for their camera in which they can take the picture from afar to create that quality image their looking for.

Movement of Camera! (camera shake!)

A lot of cameras also have self timers on them, in which you can utilize so your fingers aren’t moving the cameras at all when you take a photo at night.

This photo has less camera shake, but it’s still not perfect because I was utilize the camera with a high iso, without a tripod, so it’s still iffy, but upping the iso and keeping the camera steady did help.

Movement of Subject:

Have you ever taken a photo and your subject has moved?  While that shutter is open, if there’s any movement, that movement is seen in the photo, and your shot will come back blurry.

Animals are tough creatures to capture 😉

Out of Focus:

And sometimes when we take a photo it may be out of focus, and those times, the photos will come back blurry.  An example I have of this is with my DSLR, if I don’t hold the button down all the way, the camera will automatically refocus because I have it on auto focus, and during this process, it sometimes goes out of focus.  Frustrating! Also, in manual focus settings, if you’re settings aren’t where they need to be, the photo will be out of focus, and come back blurry.

Part of it is knowing your camera, understanding the settings, and knowing what you’re capturing, the lighting environment around you, etc.

Go out, capture, and have fun!


22 Responses to Why do my Photos Come out Blurry?

  1. TheFashionistachic

    What a cute mini photography lesson. I took a couple of courses over the summer to learn how to work my T3i. Photography can be challenging!!
    TheFashionistachic recently posted..Kristen Stewart – Full Show Florabotanica Interview

    • Jamie

      There’s definitely a lot that goes into it, and there’s still a lot I don’t know. But, I do love to share what I do know. That search term ended up on my blog so I felt like I had to answer it =)

  2. Sharon

    Love this tutorial. I am one who sometimes suffers from blurry picture syndrome. I will take 3 or 4 pictures before I get a decent photo. So, I found this info really useful. I am definitely going to try a few of these tips.

  3. Debra

    I am not into photography but my hubby loves it and you have given some lovely advice.
    Debra recently posted..RECHARGE

  4. Bibi @ Bibi's Culinary Journey

    Blurry is always my issue. It seems like I took a great picture. I download it and it’s blurry. Especially when it comes to my kids & dog. I really need to start learning more about photography.
    Bibi @ Bibi’s Culinary Journey recently posted..Know Your Apples – Choose The Perfect Apple

  5. Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

    Thanks for the tips… also.. love your background picture~~~

  6. Alexandra McAllister

    Thanks for all the great tips and graphics! I love taking pics and often wonder why they don’t turn out as well as I would like. Now I am going to go out and capture and have fun! :o)
    Alexandra McAllister recently posted..Get A Backlink From A PR6.EDU Website

  7. BarbaraJPeters

    These are great tips and advice to help us take some amazing photos. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Alexis Grace

    Good tips—thanks for sharing!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Chic Fall Coats

  9. Olga Hermans

    oh wow, thanks for all these tips, love them
    Olga Hermans recently posted..How To Pray For Your Destiny

  10. Lisa Frederiksen -

    Thank you so much for this, Jamie – great tips and just in time for my trip to Sedona!
    Lisa Frederiksen – recently posted..Preventing Secondhand Drinking Is Not About Prohibition

  11. Ruth Hegarty

    No wonder my photos are so mediocre! I’m always trying to catch candids of wildlife and they’re just too shy. Thanks for this terrific advice.

  12. Elizabeth Maness

    Great tips and advice. I love photos. Thanks for sharing this valuable information 🙂

  13. Sherie

    Great tutorial! My photos usually are quite blurry or shaky, so now I know what I am doing wrong and can fix it! Thank you!
    Sherie recently posted..Uncovering the Real Truth about Your Limiting Beliefs

  14. Estelle

    Great tips – thanks so much!
    Estelle recently posted..Free Downloadable Resources

  15. Martha Giffen

    Fantastic tips! I love taking pictures but since I got my iphone, I forget to get my “real” camera out. You have inspired me!
    Martha Giffen recently posted..Secret Fears That Will Kill Your Business

  16. Cathy Taughinbaugh

    Great tips. I do wonder why I end up with blurry pictures, so you’ve answered that question. Love the inspiration to take more pictures. Take care.

  17. Marie Leslie

    Great tips, Jamie, and written clearly and in an easy-to-understand fashion. You are a great resource for beginning shutterbugs.
    Marie Leslie recently posted..The One Thing You Must Do to Get Organized

  18. Susan Preston

    Thanks, Jamie for these great tips! I am bookmarking this post so I can use as a reference in taking even better photos.
    Susan Preston recently posted..I Needed A Mindset Coach

  19. Monica

    Great tips, thanks.
    Monica recently posted..Disney Souvenirs

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