How Hand-Held Photography is Just Like Marksmanship

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Mastino, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Mastino

    Mastino TPF Noob!

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    In the military they teach you to shoot a weapon like a trained killer.. When you're a photographer, you want to kill the shot...

    Here is some basic advice from an expert marksman who has earned many awards for my marksmanship. These techniques will be especially helpful in low light situation or indoor shots where a flash isn't appropriate and you don't have a tripod.

    The three basics of marksmanship-

    1. Sight picture. You want to frame your target perfectly first and foremost. Once you have accomplished that, you move on to number two.

    2. Breathing. There is a natural pause after the exhale where the body is still before the inhale, and this is when you want to take your shot. You can consciously extend this pause and take advantage of it.. If you hold your breath at the top of the inhale or in the middle of either inhale or exhale, you get jittery and move involuntarily.. Of course this involves timing and practice and attention to detail, but it will pay off in spades if you can master this.

    3. Trigger squeeze (shutter release). You should press down on your shutter with the meaty part of the pad of your index finger, not the tip, as this will cause you to pull the camera. You should press down with a nice, even force and the shutter release should be a surprise to you. What I mean is that you shouldn't deliberately jam the shutter release down, as this moves the camera.

    Hope this helps.. Any questions, feel free..
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I agree!

    Nice write up, it does help tremendously.
     
  3. CSR Studio

    CSR Studio TPF Noob!

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    Great post Mastino. I would add to that by saying, keep your elbows close to your body, exhale and squeeze the trigger (press the shutter).

    If you are some place and can set your camera on a table or your car or something like that, when you are getting ready to shoot, press down on the camera, on the hotshoe is good, exhale, and squeeze the trigger (press the shutter).
     
  4. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    I'd also like to add that a wide stance and good posture(don't lean forward or backwards, keep your weight over your legs) helps with stabilizing your upper body.

    And depending on what eye you use, you can also "wedge" the body against your shoulder to keep it steady.
     
  5. TJ K

    TJ K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nice write up thanks! Been trying to do this but reading this thread helped out!
     
  6. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    I was a competitive smallbore shooter for years in middle and high school. I was good enough to be all-state 3 years running. While shooting is a little more precise than photography (or at least at this point for me) I see lots of similarities. I use my neck strap as a sling. Squeeeeze the trigger, most definatly. And keep your damned off eye open so you can see what's going on outside the frame. ;)
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use a machine gun. Accuracy is not an option :D
     
  8. dl4449

    dl4449 TPF Noob!

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    I use a machine gun. Accuracy is not an option
    Or necessary:lol:
    Duf
     
  9. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Great thread.
     
  10. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've always got my best handheld shots by holding my breath in about the middle, mentally blocking everything around me and concentrating on being very calm. It's even better if the perspective I want happens to require me to crouch or lie down.

    For example, this shot was 1/30th at 200mm (on DX, so it's an effective 300mm). With VR, of course, but still, that's 2 and 2/3's of a stop faster than "shutter = inverse of focal length" rule of thumb.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a 100% crop. The fuzziness is from atmospheric dust, not hand-shake.

    [​IMG]

    Definitely agreed on that one. The action of your finger should be subtle, yet swift. Leave your finger on the button throughout and follow through to the end.
     
  11. invisible

    invisible Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The fact that the verb "to shoot" is used to describe both actions is probably not a coincidence :)

    I do most of my shooting handheld and a good chunk of it is indoors. I had never thought of using the pad of my finger. Great tip (no pun intended!).
     
  12. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Handheld for 2 seconds with no image stabilization :lol:

    One of my first ever shots with a DSLR (Nikon D40):
    [​IMG]
     

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