I can't figure out why my photos aren't sharp

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I've read tons of information on my camera and my lens (Canon Rebel T3i and 50 mm 1.8) and still cannot figure out why my pictures aren't sharp. I shoot in Raw and use low ISO and high shutter speeds, but I'm not getting the qualities of photos I am after. They are grainy and I don't get that "creamy" skin look. Can anyone help me? I've uploaded a sample.
 

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Your setup should be able to provide sharper photos. What's your EXIF data for that shot?
 
Have you tried different f stops? That lens isn't the sharpest wide open. Focusing is also extremely important at larger apertures.
 
What focus mode are you using? Which focus point are you using? Where did you position the active focus point?
 
What focus mode are you using? Which focus point are you using? Where did you position the active focus point?
I also use auto focus and use the center focus point. I typically point the center focus in between the eyes.
 
Have you tried different f stops? That lens isn't the sharpest wide open. Focusing is also extremely important at larger apertures.

Yes, I typically like to shoot around f/2 but have also used 5.6 recently. Still achieving gritty photos. I also never use flash.
 
What focus mode are you using? Which focus point are you using? Where did you position the active focus point?
I also use auto focus and use the center focus point. I typically point the center focus in between the eyes.

Is this auto focus in "One Shot" focus mode, "AI Servo" focus mode, or "AI Focus" focus mode?

f/1.8 provides a very narrow depth of field (meaning something doesn't have to be very much closer or farther from your focus point and it will quickly fall out of focus.) When using f/1.8 you have to nail the focus. You'll need to use "One Shot" AF (no other mode) and you'll need to point the center focus point at your subject's eye to lock focus (half-press the shutter button), then recompose to shoot (without releasing the shutter button otherwise it will re-focus.)

If you use a higher f-stop it will be easier to achieve focus because the depth of field is broader and problems such as field curvature won't be a problem when you recompose. But when you use a higher f-stop, the background will be less blurred.
 
that shot appears like missed focus plus motion blur.
 
Your setup should be able to provide sharper photos. What's your EXIF data for that shot?
What is EXIF?
It's the image metadata, which includes your ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc.

What was your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO for this photo?
 
Looks like it was shot wide open which is soft.Two stops down or more should see a significant difference.You could have a bad copy lens it happens or user error.
 

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