What is continuous shooting mode, and why should you always keep your camera set there? Because taking just one shot is a recipe for disaster. Why? I was recently watching a photographer shooting an event and I noticed something that really concerned me. There were several group shots, and as each group was assembled the photographer went 'click' one time, and then the groups moved on and the next one assembled. One click... Yikes. That's leaving a lot to chance. Sure enough, when the proofs came back, the family pictures left something to be desired. Not only were they distorted by a bad choice in focal length, but there were several awkward poses. How many times have you taken a picture of a group and everyone's eyes and attention were where they were supposed to be? There's the guy flirting with someone across the room, eyes-closed kid, the idiot who thinks he's hilarious flipping off the camera or doing bunny ears behind someone else's head, the blur, or cousin Dwight with his finger up his nose, again. And then there are your mistakes. Can a photographer always catch all the details by chimping? No. The 3 inch view screen on the back of the camera can really fool you. I've thought 'got it' when I was feeling rushed and it never ever fails that when I get home and get the pictures uploaded that I have a serious heart-sinking oh-no moment when I see the details I missed, like someone just slightly out of focus. Sigh. Don't get in a hurry! Take. More. Than. One. Picture. Machine gunning exposures like paparazzi can catch the fleeting expressions of a child or pet, or just get a shot of a group with everyone's eyes open and no one's tongue out or finger up. There's also a psych factor. Once people hear the first click of the camera they tend to relax, and you get some nice natural expressions for portraits. Sometimes the second or third picture in a series will be less blurry if you tend to have shaky hands or are in low light. You may also get some unexpected expressions in shooting a series, like my son channeling his inner Grumpy Cat. The whole point is to make things easier on yourself, and to catch the memories you want. If I wouldn't have been on 'continuous shooting' I never would have caught this expression, have the fun of teasing him about it, or have my younger son tell me, "Yeah, that's how he looks when he's really going to throw it hard. I always know I'd better brace myself when I see that face." Have fun, catch the moment.
One thing that happens again and again is that people use the LCDs on the back of their cameras to frame their shots and end up holding their cameras at arm's length to take pictures. The problem is that 9 times out of 10 the pictures end up just a little fuzzy, and we've all ended up seasick from home videos. Why? Well, no matter how hard we try, our hands shake, we breathe in and out, and the world turns. So what do we do about it? Believe it or not, this is less of a problem with dSLRs. They're bigger and heavier, so in some ways they're more stable when you're pressing the shutter button (and remember, stroke it, don't stab it!). They're also more expensive, so we tend to treat them like our babies. 😛 The right hand is the shutter button side, and should be holding the camera firmly but not squeezing it. The left hand should be actually supporting the weight of the camera from underneath, with the fingers cupping around the lens, and that left elbow held in and propped against your body as a sturdy support. The best way to hold a camera is to always keep both your elbows in. No flappy wings! 😉 Consciously resting your elbow(s) against your rib cage or close to your body will make a big difference in your focus. I've also been saved by my close hold on my camera on the street. Just a few weeks ago I had an idiot jogger slam right into me and almost knock me to my knees while I was at a car show. If I wouldn't have had my camera held in against my body with both hands while focusing it would have been knocked out of my hands and smashed. Also, inhale or exhale before your shot, not during. I usually end up exhaling and holding, but if the other way works for you, that's great. So, unless you're short and holding your camera up to try and get a shot over the crowd at a concert, 2 hands on the wheel at all times, even with small cameras. Better yet, find something to lean on. A post, a wall, a fence. Not the car, unless it's turned off. That additional stability will really make a difference when you aren't carrying a tripod. If you're sitting, prop your elbow on your knee, for instance. Any extra little bit of stability helps make your pictures just a little sharper.