male portrait

What Causes Blurry Pictures and How to Fix: 10 Reasons | 3 Practical Methods

Have you ever taken a great picture, and when you look at it later, it's blurry? Or maybe you were trying to take a picture of something, and it just wouldn't focus? Don't worry; you're not alone. This is a common problem for photographers of all levels of experience.

This blog post will discuss what causes blurry pictures and how to fix blurry pictures. By the end, you'll be able to take clear and crisp photos every time.

10 Reasons for Blurry Pictures

1. High  ISO

The first reason your photos might be blurry is that you have your camera's ISO set too high. The ISO setting determines how sensitive your camera's sensor is to light.

The higher the number, the more sensitive it is; thus, the grainier your photo will be. If you find that your photos are coming out grainy, the first thing you should do is lower your ISO.

blurry photo of sunrise

Photo by Josh Withers on Unsplash

Solution:

If you're in a low light situation and need to take a photo, set your ISO as low as possible while still getting a fast enough shutter speed to avoid blur.

If you're shooting in bright light, on the other hand, you can afford to raise your ISO without sacrificing image quality.

2. The Shutter Speed Is Too Slow

Another reason for blurry photos is that your shutter speed is too slow. Your shutter speed is when your camera's sensor is exposed to light when you take a photo. If it's set too low, your photo will be blurry.

Solution:

If you're taking photos in low light, you'll need a slow shutter speed to let in enough light. But if you're shooting in bright light, make sure to use a fast shutter speed so that you don't end up with a blurry photo.

3. The Aperture Is Too Large

Your aperture (measured in f-stops) is the opening in your lens through which light enters your camera. The lower the f-stop number, the larger the opening. A large aperture (low f-stop number) is great for low light situations and can also give your photo a nice bokeh effect. But if it's too large, your photo will be blurry.

Solution:

glamorous girs portrait with Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

If you're shooting in low light, open your aperture so more light can enter your camera. But if you're shooting in bright light, close your aperture, so your photo doesn't come out blurry.

4. Not Holding Your Camera Correctly

When people are not holding their camera correctly, it can cause the image to be blurry. This is because when people are not holding their camera correctly, they are not keeping the camera as still as possible. Every little movement that is made while taking the picture can cause the image to be blurry.

Solution:

Be sure to hold your camera correctly when taking a picture. Hold it with both hands and keep your arms close to your body. This will help to keep the camera still and avoid any blurry pictures.

5. Poor Quality Lens

If you have a cheap lens, your photos will probably be blurry. This is because cheap lenses are more likely to suffer from "chromatic aberration." Chromatic aberration is when different light colors don't focus on the same point. As a result, your photo will be blurry.

Solution:

To avoid chromatic aberration, you need to use a better lens. But if you don't have a better lens, you can try using a software program like Lightroom to remove the effect.

6. You're Using the Wrong Focus Mode

blurry female portrait

Photo by Steven Weeks on Unsplash

If you use the wrong focus mode, your photo will blur. The three main focus modes are single point, continuous, and manual. Single point focus is great for taking photos of stationary subjects.

Continuous focus is great for taking photos of moving subjects. And the manual focus is great for taking photos in low-light situations.

Solution:

If you're taking a photo of a stationary subject, use single-point focus. Use continuous focus to take a photo of a moving subject. And if you're taking a photo in low light, use manual focus.

7. Air Quality

While air quality may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you notice a blurry picture, it can be a significant factor. Dust, pollen, and other airborne particles can interfere with the light path, making it difficult for the lens to focus properly.

Solution:

If you want to avoid blurriness caused by dust and other particles, try using a lens hood. A lens hood is a piece of plastic or metal that you attach to the front of your lens. It helps to deflect particles away from your lens, so your photos will be less likely to be blurry.

8. Not Using Autofocus

If you're not using autofocus, your photo will be blurry. Autofocus is a feature that allows your camera to focus on your subject automatically. It's great for taking photos of moving subjects, and it's also great for taking photos in low-light situations.

vintage portrait with Kate 5x7ft Abstract Texture Spray Painted Backdrop

Kate 5x7ft Abstract Texture Spray Painted Backdrop

Solution:

To avoid blurriness, make sure to use autofocus. If you're taking a photo of a moving subject, try using continuous autofocus. And if you're taking a photo in low light, try using manual focus.

9. Not Focusing in the Right Place

If you don't focus in the right place, your photo will be blurry. This is because the area you choose to focus on will be in sharp focus, while the rest of your photo will be out of focus.

Solution

To avoid this, focus on the subject matter rather than the background. This means ensuring that the camera is zoomed in enough so that the subject takes up a large portion of the frame. You can also try using a higher f-stop number to get a more shallow depth of field and make your subject stand out even more.

10. Motion Blur

Motion blur is one of the most common causes of blurry pictures. Motion blur happens when your subject is moving, and your camera cannot capture the image in one single frame. As a result, your photo will be blurry.

Solution:

There are a few ways to avoid motion blur. To avoid motion blur is to use a tripod. A tripod will help keep your camera steady, making your photo less likely to be blurry.

Finally, you can try using burst mode. Burst mode allows you to take multiple photos in quick succession. This means that even if one of the photos is blurry, you're likely to have at least one other photo in focus.

3 Easy Ways to Fix Blurry Pictures in Photoshop

Method 1: Using Unsharp Mask

To use an unsharp mask, you will have to make a copy of the image, then right-click on the image and select convert the smart object. This makes it easy for you to modify the filter after applying it.

Step 1

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Go to the filter menu >sharpen> unsharp mask. You will have three slides. The first is how much you want to sharpen your image. The other two will allow you to control how much you want to spread your sharpening.  

Step 2

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Applying the amount and radius, the threshold will be the main thing you must be careful about because it can make or break your image. If you increase it too much, it will show no effect.

Try to keep it very low compared to the amount and the radius. The radius will allow you how much contrast you need on the edge, so try to keep the radius in control too. Click ok after making the adjustments.

Step 3

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Activate your layer mask. Press ctrl I so all the sharpening is still there. However, it will be hidden under the black color; to bring it back, you will use white.

Step 4

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Use a brush and select a white color; ensure the opacity is 100%. Right, Click, and ensure the hardness is 0%. This will make your brush soft, then paint on the places you need to sharpen. For the contrasting places to control them, decrease the opacity to 40 or 50 percent.

Step 5

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

If you applied too much on the unsharp mask, you could double-click on the unsharp mask layer. It will open up the box, and now you can go and reduce the amount, like how much sharpening you need. This gives you much control compared to applying the mask to an image.

Using High Pass Filter

You will use a high pass filter to sharpen your image in this case. In the picture above, we will sharpen the hair and eyes.Make a copy of the image by pressing ctrl j and turn the image into a smart object by right-clicking and converting it into a smart object.

Step 1

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Select filter> other> highpass. It can be tricky to know how much radius you need; however, between 1-5 is enough. For our image, we can choose three and then click ok.

Step 2

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Next is changing the blending mode. The blending mode usually depends on your image. Hard light will work best for this image since it will lift the shadows a little bit and make them a bit brighter, which works best for dark images. You can use vivid blending mode, which makes images sharper but doesn't lift shadows too much.

Step 3

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Since you don't want to sharpen the entire image, you will apply a new layer mask. Then press ctrl I; sharpening will be there but can't be seen.

Step 4

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Select a brush, white color, and ensure opacity is 100%. Right, Click, and ensure the hardness is 0%. Then paint on the areas where you want your sharpening to be. For this image, it will be the eyes and the hair.

Fixing Things That Are Out of Focus

You cannot fix everything that is out of focus. However, you can make it a little usable if it's an important image. Make a copy of the image by pressing ctrl j, then right-click and convert the image into a smart object.

Step 1

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Go to filter> sharpen> smart sharpen. For the image we have, we will sharpen the eyes. So focus on the eyes.

Step 2

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

In sharpening, you will select the blur you want to remove. Use the one that works best for your liking. We will use Gaussian blur and ensure more accuracy is turned on.

Step 3

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

Go to shadows and try to fade them a little because if it's zero, the shadows are too dark. You can fade it to 24, the radius you can have at one, and the tonal work you can have at 40.Same with the highlights don't keep it at 0 try to fit it a little bit with your image so it doesn't look unnatural.

Step 4

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

You can select the layer mask and press ctrl if everything is hidden. Select a brush, white color, and ensure opacity is 100%. Right, Click, and ensure the hardness is 0%. Then paint on the areas where you want your sharpening to be.

Step 5

tutorial to sharpen blurry pictures

If it's unnatural, you can also reduce the amount and the radius, then click ok.

Conclusion

Several factors cause blurry pictures, most of which can be easily fixed. With just a few simple adjustments to your shooting technique, you should learn how to fix blurry pictures and be able to avoid the dreaded blurry picture syndrome altogether.

Tutorial Image Credit: youtube.com

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