6 Ways To Hold A Camera + Panning

Photography - 101 Sharp Images And Focusing Techniques
10 minutes
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We are right outside of the SLR lounge studio and in this video I have six quick tips when it comes to how to hold your camera. Now when you're shooting it super fast shutter speeds these tips Well, they don't really matter because your shutter speed is so fast that how you hold the camera isn't going to make a difference. But when you begin to slow down the shutter and let's say you don't have a tripod handy, these tips are going to make all the difference in getting a sharp and usable image. The cool part is at the end of this little quick tip tutorial, we're going to walk out to the side of the street, we're going to get an awesome panning shot. Well we're going to try and get a motorcycle going by but we do have to hopefully hope that there's a motorcycle driver going by or do you call them drivers or writers motorcycle writer, I don't ride a motorcycle.

Now before we jump into our six tips. Let me go ahead and mention that when you are slowing down the shutter. Your best bet is to always use a tripod. But some of you may not have a tripod or you might be shooting in a scene or in a place where they don't allow tripods or maybe you're just like me and you forgot it. Either way, these tips on how to To handhold your camera and get sharp images are going to come in very handy and holding handy. That was like a little pen right there.

Alright, so starting off from the top with number one is when you are holding your camera, you're going to use your left hand or basically your off hands. So it depends if you're left or right handed, I'm right handed, so I use my left hand to basically brace underneath the lens. Then we're going to use the right hand controller settings from the right side of the camera and we're going to tuck in our elbows right to my chest right here. And we're going to bring the viewfinder right up to our eye. Now what we're essentially doing is creating three points of contact with the camera and that's what all these tips are designed to do is to create more points of contact. The more points of contact you have with a camera, the more you can keep it stable.

For example, if I'm just holding it out like this, this isn't a very stable way to hold the camera. When I bring in my other hand, I hold underneath the lens to brace it, and I bring it to my eye we now have three points of contact with my eye being the last one. So this is sitting on one that is kind of the correct way to hold a camera. Now for some of you. It's not really that comfortable, and I'm notorious this all the time. Sometimes I just don't want to have my hand underneath the lens.

So I go like this. If you're shooting in a fast shutter speed, it really doesn't matter. But when you're slowing down your shutter speeds, even I make sure that I'm holding the camera the right way. So that way everything's braced your elbows against the chest, and you're good to go. Just a reminder though, when you are shooting with slow shutter and you're hand holding, take a couple extra shots just to make sure that you have some turnout the way you want. Okay, now, let's go on to number two.

Number two is basically when you're slowing the shutter to find an object to brace against. So for example, this object could be a lovely wall, like the conveniently placed wall right here, it could be a tree, it could be whatever you want. all you're gonna do is lean against that object and do the same thing that we did in tip one, both elbows in hand underneath the lens, right hand controls, basically you're controlling camera and then I piece up. Now with this wall bracing, I can get the shutter speed even down slower and still get an adequately sharp image. Let's move on to handling tip number three, which I like to call the elbow shelf. Now, when you're in a scene that has no trees present, there's no walls There's no nothing.

It's just kind of sad. Actually, that really sounds depressing. No trees, no, nothing. Just me. Yeah. Anyway, if you're in that type of a scene, well, you can do the elbow thing that works great.

And that's actually my preference. But another preference. Another way that photographers in our studio like to shoot is what I call the elbow shell, you bring your off camera hand up to your camera shoulder, okay, so my right hand is my camera arm. So I'm gonna bring up to my right shoulder, prop the elbow up, place the camera right on top of the elbow, and then you bring it up to your eyepiece. Now, aside from making you look super awesome, and making it look like you're shooting stuff that's really far more important than it actually is. It's actually very stable of a method to hold your camera and you can get pretty slow and your shutter speeds.

Still, for me, I kind of prefer the elbows tucked in. It's just my own. I think it's more for the fact that I don't like the way I look when I do this, but whatever To each their own. Right. Alright, so coming away from the superhero like elbow shelf, we're going to go into the super squat, which is holding Tip number four. Now for this one, I'm gonna be honest, I really cannot Do this method of holding my camera because I'm not that flexible, but some of you are.

So I'm going to show it to you anyway, it's gonna be little embarrassing, but whatever, you're gonna go down into a squat. Now the way that this works, my gosh, is that you have to get down low so that your butt is basically you're not flexing anything, okay? So it has to be a relaxed position. Now, for me, I'm not relaxed at all, but you're gonna bring you like that little jump like that. Now, okay, you're gonna bring the elbows in onto the knees, and then you're gonna bring the eyepiece up just like this. And if you can actually squat properly, where your butt is completely flat, and all your muscles are relaxed, then great.

That's a wonderful pose for holding your camera. But if not, if everything is like, basically flexed and you're moving, it's a terrible pose. Do not do it. You're not flexible, just like me. Let's move on to holding tip number five, which is kind of much more my speed because I get to sit down. So holding tip number five is to sit down now using this method.

Oh, man, we can slow down the shutter so slow. It's crazy. Basically, we're gonna sit down, you can sit down on a curve, you can sit down on anything you'd like a bench, whatever, you can do the same thing we did before, except what we're doing here is creating a sort of human tripod or what I like to call the bipod. Okay, elbows onto the knees, bring the eyepiece right to the eye. Now we have three points of contact, we basically have our elbows going down our legs, and we have my torso connected to the eyepiece. Using this method, oh man, we can get down to a half a second, a full second shutter.

And remember, I'm still taking a few shots to make sure that some of them are adequately sharp, but we can get done a really slow shutter speeds. last tip, though, when you're especially getting to a half second handheld shutter, and you're trying to get an adequately sharp image, it's gonna be a little difficult. One thing that you must do and this is holding Tip number six, is to regulate your breathing. So let me stand back up. Okay, I feel like I've worked out already, but all I really did was sit down. Oh my gosh.

Alright, so when it comes to breathing, the main tip here is to not hold your breath. When you hold your breath, you're actually depriving your muscles of oxygen. When you do that your muscles going to tremble, we don't want that we want everything to be stable. And to do that, you simply need to regulate your breathing. Now, if you are a military trained sniper, this should be just part of your standard everyday routine anyway. So I don't have anything to teach you guys.

But for those that are not military trained snipers, all you're going to do is use one of the techniques that we talked about. So let's say we bring our elbows to our chest, we're going to hold underneath the camera, we're going to bring the eyepiece up just like so. And we're going to breathe slowly. And it's kind of that was not a very slow breathe, like meditational breathing. Now, we're not going to shoot during a breath, we're gonna shoot actually in between breaths. So if I were to demonstrate how that's gonna work, I'm gonna get my focus, get everything all ready, hold still and take a breath.

Firing between firing between and so forth. So you're basically Firing in between each breath, you're breathing slowly and that way it keeps your body very still, that is the best way to hold still or to keep the body stable when you're shooting a long shutter drag, just simply handheld. Now these six tips are going to come in really handy when it comes to pulling off great and adequately sharp images when you have no other option than to handhold. We're gonna actually take these tips right out to the street now and we're going to pull off a shot, what we're going to do is do a panning shot where we can basically slow down the shutter, we're going to pan with the movement of a car or hopefully a motorcycle and capture a cool action shot. We're basically show that motorcycle kind of streaking across the scene.

So let's go out there and do that now. Alright, so we're here on the screen and the first thing I want to do is dial in my exposure I'm going to start with the shutter speed first because it's for basically compositional purposes, I want to capture motion so I'm going to slow the shutter speed down. Now let's say at 150 of a second I'm going to get a decent amount of motion but if I were to slow it to one 20th of a second I'll get even more motion as I pan with a car or motorcycle. The process means that the slower we go in the shutter speed, the more motion we're going to get with a car as well, it's gonna be difficult to get a car or motorcycle, whatever that subject is to be sharp. So it's a little bit of a trade off, the faster we go, the easier it is to get a tack sharp image, the slower you go, the more emotion we're getting, and the more interesting of a shot that we have.

So you're going to kind of balance that sweet spot. For this shot, I'm going to vary between one 20th to say one 30th of a second. Again, it helps a lot if your lens has image stabilization, and I'm on the 18 to 55. This is just the standard kit lens, and it does have stabilization on it. So I'm going to make sure that stabilization is turned on at one 20th of a second. And then basically from here, I'm dialing my exposure on my aperture to around f 11.

Maybe f 13. Just to make sure that I'm not blowing out anything in the background. So I'm going to do is just take a quick shot real quick and let's just make sure that using the histogram and yeah, you can see that with the histogram we haven't blown really anything out. Okay, so we can see that we have all of our tonal detail from the shadows all the way up to the highlights. Now it's really going to be waiting game to get the right car and the right composition, what I'm going to do is pre focus. So Oh, and by the way, ISO set to 100.

Cuz I want to maximize dynamic range. In this shot, I want to have all that detail to work with in post production. So what I'm going to do, I'm going to pre focus on where I'm expecting the motorcycle to be, I'm also going to leave room for the frame, or basically for the subject, whether it's a motorcycle or a car, as I'm planning, I'm gonna leave room in front of that motorcycle or car to basically move into. Okay, so now it's just gonna be a matter of waiting for the right vehicle to go by. And what we're going to do is the same techniques that we use before, elbows in hand underneath the lens, and we're going to bring up to the eyepiece. I'm going to zoom in a little bit, I'm pre focusing right where the motorcycle would be.

And now we're just going to wait for that motorcycle and if you want, you can practice with the car. So here is a little wr x, I'm just going to pan along with it. And as soon as it goes by, I'm kind of just capturing it right as it goes by. Okay, I'm gonna zoom in a little tighter I see a Volkswagen bug coming. Let's test it on that. So again, Pan and the easiest way to do this is to keep your autofocus point right over the car or right over the subject.

While it passes through the frame, we want to match the speed of our pan to the speed of the car. If you don't, then the car is gonna look blurry if you match the speed of the pan to the car, then the car will be sharp and the background is gonna be what's in motion, which is exactly what what. Alright, so your challenge with this tutorial is to use these tips on how to handle the camera and without your tripod, go out, slow your shutter speed down and get some shots in action doesn't have to be cars or motorcycles. It can be action and athletes and sports and so forth. Whatever you can dream up, go and upload it to SRL and when you're done and show the community how you did it.

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