When you're known for working in Photoshop for the majority of your day and often into the night, you get asked a lot of questions. One such question that comes up very frequently is, "How can I make my photos sharper?". Just the other day, my cousin was asking me what he could do in Photoshop in order to make his blurry shots look better. I filled him in on the typical sharpening techniques, but it was only after our discussion that I realized it would probably be in his and everyone's best interest to avoid taking blurry photos in the first place.
However, for even the most avid photographers, this isn't always an easy task. Under certain light and with long shutter speeds, even a neurosurgeon will take a streaky, blurry picture from time to time. Having recently upgraded my camera, I found myself in this very predicament. Most people would go out and buy an expensive tripod to carry everywhere they go. This is a fine solution, but as anyone who has ever wielded a tripod knows, they're extremely annoying and cumbersome, especially for taking spontaneous shots.
Sure, you can pick up a mini-tripod for $30 and take some photos of...well...anything small enough to fit conveniently on a table. Fellow iMarcian Craig Henry uses a monopod (ladies) for shooting weddings. However, even the most affordable monopod will run you about $40 and will only eliminate 2/3 of the overall hassle. Rob's lens spins gyroscopically to stabalize his photos. Incredibly cool if you have solid gold toilets in your palace and can afford such luxuries.
Without further ado, I present to you a solution to this problem that will cost you less than $5, is insanely portable, and extremely clever.
Gorgeous. What you see is a 1/4-20 eye bolt attached to 6 feet of light chain. The eye bolt can be purchased at any home improvement or hardware store for around 50 cents and the chain goes for 45 cents a foot. I've used a spare keyring to link them together. From here, just screw the bolt into the base of your camera and make sure everything is threaded securely with the bolt. Hold your camera and let the chain down to the ground. Once the camera is at the right height for your subject, just step on the end of the chain and pull up gently. This will work as a sort of reverse monopod, allowing you to take much steadier shots. No messing with screws or telescoping legs, and no more streaky, blurry photos! When you're done, the chain coils nicely into your pocket or camera bag. Have a look at a shot taken with a shutter speed of one third of a second.
Although this isn't applicable in all situations, I hope you find it useful enough to keep in your camera bag of tricks.