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Digital Night Photography

Two Ways to Prevent Camera Shake

SUMMARY: Your digital photos at nighttime need not be blurry if you use one of these techniques.

While most digital camera manuals describe the self-timer mode, where the camera takes a picture several seconds after the shutter speed is pressed, as "good for portraits", the self-timer mode can be very useful for night photos as well.

Most night photos, especially in situations where you cannot reliably use flash, require a shutter speed of half a second or longer else the subject will be too dark. This is to compensate for the lack of available light. Unfortunately, these situations, especially if you are unable to use a tripod, can result in camera shake.

However, if you use the self-timer mode, you might be able to get some acceptable shots just holding your camera very steady. Any shake caused by pressing the shutter button will be eliminated, as the camera will not take photos until several seconds after the button has been pressed. Even if you use a tripod, pressing the shutter button can cause some shaking, so the self-timer mode can fix this problem.

If you don't mind spending a few bucks, one other option if you use a tripod is to purchase a remote shutter release - you should be able to find one that fits your camera online or at many camera stores. A wired or wireless release button will let you shoot a photo without having to touch the camera, all but eliminating the chance of camera shake - unless it is a windy day, of course.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.