Blurry Indoor Photos

An anonymous reader asks,

I took a bunch of photos at a party over the weekend. They looked fine on the back of my camera, but when I posted them to the web I noticed that a lot of them were blurry. Why doesn’t my camera do well with quick movement?

As we love to say at MyPhotoSucks, the problem isn’t your camera, it’s how you use it. The simple answer is that you should have used your flash.

Shooting indoors without a flash forces your camera to select a very slow shutter speed — slow enough that it is very difficult to hold it still enough to get a sharp image. And, if the subject moves, your camera captures the movement due to the show shutter speed. This is a great effect when shooting waterfalls and streams, but no so great when photographing your friends.
Because the LCD display on the back of your camera is very small, you don’t notice the image quality issue on it. Many cameras allow you to “zoom in” on the display to check image focus and sharpness, and if you do you’ll most likely see the problem there as well.
As a general rule, any time your shutter speed is less than the reciprocal of the lens’ focal length, you need to use a tripod and/or a flash. If you’re shooting with a 100mm focal lenth, you should try for a shutter speed of 1/100 or faster. As a general rule, you should avoid shooting handheld slower than 1/60 unless you have a very stead hand or your camera has image stablization. But remember that both image stabilization and your tripod only help with small camera movement. Neither stop the subject from moving!

2 thoughts on “Blurry Indoor Photos

  1. I’m glad to see someone aeappl to both mediums. But you nailed it on the head–nothing can replace a real picture (especially yours with film). Love the lighting from the flash on the left image in the second set. So interesting.

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