When I first started taking photographs the idea of having photos in focus at 100% magnification seemed impossible – but clearly it’s possible now… :) Some suggestions:
To check whether your photo is in focus at 100% in iPhoto, view your photo full screen and press “1” – it will magnify your photograph to 100%, so you can look around and see if your photo is in focus. To get it back to full screen press “0”. Disheartening at first, eh? No worries, you will get better.
Here are various suggestions that have helped me get to 100% – you won’t use all of them at the same time, each has their time and purpose:
– Use a tripod – I use a Vanguard tripod, as recommended by the folks at Huron Camera Shop in Dexter. It is very sturdy, quite flexible, and small enough. Don’t forget to buy a ball head to go on top of it! Make sure you have turned off the vibration reduction “VR” setting of your camera, which will try to correct for motion that will no longer be there, creating its own motion, ironically enough…
– Use a monopod – Sometimes a tripod is too much, so I use my monopod – it looks kind of like a cane, and you can screw your camera to it, giving you a steadier hold. Much easier to take into crowded places. Now I can take photos at 100% without the monopod, but when I started it was invaluable.
– Use a fast shutter speed, at least as fast as the inverse of your focal length. So if your lens is at 100 mm focal length, shoot at 1/100 of a second or faster shutter speed. The less time the shutter is open the lower the chances that things will shake while the shutter is open. Sometimes I just run the camera on Shutter priority, increase the ISO so the camera is more sensitive to light and I won’t have to have the shutter as open, and adjusting exposure compensation to make sure I’m spanning as much of my histogram as I can. (and don’t worry if you have no idea what I just said, you’ll master ISO, exposure, histograms, just take it little by little. I took it one step at a time, you can too…)
– “Roll” the shutter rather than pressing it. Don’t “click” the shutter but rather press it in a rolling motion, as if you were getting a fingerprint taken.
– Set your camera on 2 sec, 5 sec, or 10 sec delay. If you’re shooting something that’s not moving, set your camera to a time delay. This way you can click the camera, wait for the camera shake to settle, then the camera takes the photo.
– Use a remote shutter release. The Nikon one costs about $20 and lets you take photographs without touching the camera, reducing the camera shake.
Try some combinations of these and next thing you know your photos will be at 100% too. Have other suggestions? Include them in the comment section, thanks!