Any Tips On Holding A Camera Straight?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by stillshooting, May 2, 2008.

  1. stillshooting macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2008
    90% of my shots come out crooked. When I look through the viewfinder it seems straight but when I take the shot it is crooked. I assume that I must not be holding the camera correctly, any advice?
  2. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    to be perfectly honest, buy a tripod. you can very very cheap ones that fold up enough you can put em in your backpack.
  3. svenr macrumors regular

    May 6, 2003
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes the tripod would help but in addition you'd need a bubble level to place on top of the camera. My tripod haw a level built in.

    Aside from a level, which a lot of photographers do use, what you can do is find some marks inside the viewfinder, maybe the focus brackets and try to line them up with something you now much to either vertical (like some feature of a building) or something horizontal (like the horizon)

    You can correct the tilt in iPhoto or Photoshop but that always degrades the quality.
  5. davinche macrumors regular


    May 3, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
  6. jbernie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Do you have a long mirror you can stand in front of? You can look at yourself through the lens and see how tilted you are holding the camera. That or have a friend or you SO observe you.

    Another issue could be the way in which you are standing. Maybe feet to close together etc or be like many people and you have one leg slightly longer than the other.. many things can throw you off... just a review of what you are doing and then being able to control it.
  7. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2003
    I think it's actually very hard to get a camera or camcorder precisely level outdoors, even with a tripod.

    You can try to line up the edges of the frame with some vertical or horizontal line in the picture, but that only really works if you are looking at something absolutely straight on, dead-center. That doesn't seem to be the case with me very often. (If you're using vertical lines as a reference, you have to start with the camera not tilted up or down as well, level it, then tilt.)

    If your camera is tilted (aiming up or down at something), lining up one edge of the viewfinder/lcd with the side of a building or a column will probably make the picture look tilted everywhere else. Because of perspective, if your camera is tilted, vertical lines should actually not look perfectly vertical, unless they are in the center of your frame.

    I frequently get pictures from a freelance photographer to include as a slideshow on DVDs, and find myself rotating them a few degrees to make them level. Nothing too drastic, but I don't think any human is able to hold the camera perfectly level with any speed, any more than a person can draw a perfect circle freehand.

    ... It's also possible that you're holding your camera pretty level before you take the picture, but when you depress the button, you're snapping it instead of squeezing it slowly.

    And remember, you don't want every picture to be perfectly level. How boring!
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    What are you shooting with?

    Is there a menu option where you can turn on viewfinder gridlines? If you're looking at your LCD while shooting, it may not be a feature, but try. If you're using a DSLR, there may be an option for these gridlines.
  9. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    Also, do you "pull" or "squeeze" the shutter? This is unlikely to be the solution, but you should gently release the shutter–not jam down on it. Jamming down too hard could explain your problem.
  10. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    One likely culprit is one you can't control - your viewfinder simply may not be squared with the sensor. That's were a bubble level comes in handy.

    Thom Hogan says (somewhere; can't find it right now) every Nikon he's ever used has a tilt to the viewfinder, one way or the other. :D And I know my D70's viewfinder has this issue as well.
  11. sonor macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    London, UK

    "the viewfinder mask on my D50 is 0.6 degrees off from what it should be...I've yet to see a Nikon viewfinder that's perfect (curiously, they all seem to give you images that run downhill right), but my D50's is the worst of the bunch to date."

    I don't think it's only Nikon that has this problem though.
  12. teleromeo macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2006
    kidnapped by aliens
    try to move just your finger instead of your hand when you shoot.
  13. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    I have the gridlines turned on all the time on my Nikon d80. Very helpful!
  14. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Sometimes problem is uncontrolled shutter press that causes dipping of one side of camera before camera takes picture (often with consumer cameras that have a delay).

    Sometimes it's lack of observation.

    Or it could be consumer cameras viewfinder too small to align things correctly.
  15. stillshooting thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2008
    I have a pentax k10d and I cant find a menu for gridlines
  16. Grey Beard macrumors 65816

    Grey Beard

    Sep 10, 2005
    The Antipodes.
    In addition to all the other excellent suggestions, make a point of keeping your elbows tucked in against your sides, not flapping around like sheets in the wind.


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