7 min read

How to Hold a Camera Steady to Take Sharper Photos: 6 Pro Tips

7 min read

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pro tips on how to hold a DSLR camera

So learning how to hold a camera may sound a bit silly at first. But think about it, have you ever considered if you are holding your camera the correct way? Typically we are so excited when our new camera arrives we rarely think about the correct way of actually holding a camera. We just pick up our new favorite toy and start shooting.

However, it’s important to remember that the way you are holding the camera can highly affect how focused your images are. Blurry images arrive from two different situations. First, when the subject is moving quickly, which is out of our control. The only thing we can do to freeze the action of our subjects is to raise our shutter speed.

tips and techniques to hold a camera.

The second thing that affects the focus of your images is how you hold your camera. If you are not holding it correctly, you can end up with a camera shake and blurry photos.

This article will teach you how to hold a camera properly and give you tips and tricks that you may not have thought of before. Let’s get started!

How to Hold a Camera

As mentioned above, the best way to avoid blurry photos is to adjust your shutter speeds. Also, investing in a tripod is a fantastic way to gain extra stability. But if you need to hold your camera, which is the case most of the time, certain techniques can help you do it the right way. Here are our top 6 tips to give you more control over your photography by holding your camera correctly.

Watch our exclusive video:

YouTube video

1. Keep your Elbows Tucked

By holding your camera with your elbows tucked under and close to your body, you will be providing further support to balance your camera. I have often seen photographers shooting the wrong way by having their elbows sprawled out far from their body as they hold the camera. By keeping your arms close to your body, you stay in line with your center of gravity and stop yourself from swaying or moving at many different shutter speeds.

2. Place your Legs Body Width Apart

Just as I mentioned with your elbows, it’s important to keep your legs’ body width apart to help you find your center of gravity. This works whether you are holding a digital camera or a smartphone. By finding your center and a good position to stand in, you provide further stability and a more stable picture free from movement. You need to plant your feet firmly and flat if you want the best stability.

tips to steadily hold your camera.

3. Lean Against a Supportive Surface

Another technique for holding a camera includes finding a supportive surface to lean against, such as a wall. By holding your camera close to a wall, you will gain a bit more stabilization. Make sure each hand is gripping the camera tightly, one underneath the camera as a support to the lens and the other on the side of the shutter release button.

4. Stand Up Straight

It doesn’t matter if you are shooting low light or bright light. What matters is that you stand up straight with your feet acting as anchors as you rest your elbow down and grip your camera. As mentioned above, you will find your center of gravity once more by standing up straight, which is essential to hold your camera properly.

5. Placement of Your Hands

Remember to use your right hand to grip the end of your camera. Your forefinger should be placed just above the shutter release while the rest of your hand and fingers are curling around the front of your camera. Most cameras come with some sort of grip, and your can place your right thumb in this area. Hold your camera with a strong grip but not so strong that you feel shaky or unnatural.

Next, position your left hand to support the weight of the camera or the lens. If you are shooting with small lenses like 50mm, your left hand will remain on the camera. However, if you are shooting with a telephoto lens, you will need to place your left hand as support under the lens. Depending on the length of your lens, how you use your left arm will vary.

6. Using a Camera Strap or Hand Strap

Investing in a quality camera strap will not only protect your camera from hitting the ground but also offers more control holding your camera and avoiding camera shake. There are a variety of camera straps available on the market. Still, the most important aspect is it wraps around your body and connects securely to the bottom of your camera.

Unlike the average camera strap, which wraps around your body, a camera hand strap only secures your hand to the camera. This will help keep your right hand wrapped around your DSLR as you point at your next subject.

boy holding camera.

Bonus Tip: Sitting vs Standing

So now you may be wondering how to hold a camera while sitting vs standing. There is a way to hold each properly but in different ways. Think about these two differences when you try to steady your camera for your next shoot. Here are some recommendations used by pro photographers.


If you have to get down low while you hold a camera remember to sit flatly on your backside and also bend at the knees so your feet can be planted firmly on the ground. Lean into your kneed and place your elbows on your knees to avoid camera shake. This is especially helpful when shooting at slower shutter speeds, giving you more control. You will see a difference in each image.


If you cannot find a wall to lean against try holding the camera on your shoulder or arm. To do this you need to bring your left arm around yourself and grip tightly around your right shoulder. Place your camera on the upper part of your left arm or shoulder.

If you have to shoot at a slow shutter speed but don’t have a tripod this will greatly help you with camera shake. This is a great cheat tip for a steady grip. The only issue photographers have with this camera hold is it limits your zoom and focus point control.

holding a DSLR camera while sitting.

Portrait vs Landscape Mode

If you want to have better control over your images, it’s also important to consider how you hold your camera when shooting a vertical or horizontal image. As mentioned above, the most important thing to remember when holding your camera for a landscape shot is that your elbows are tucked tightly next to your body, and the camera is pressed firmly to your face for additional contact points.

When shooting in a vertical or portrait position, it can be more difficult to steady your camera. This is because one elbow is forced to be raised. But to reduce the issues with this, we recommend buying a battery grip that gives you faster access to your shutter release button. The battery grip from Nikon cost around $200.

Common Mistakes

Think about these common mistakes the next time you are holding the camera. These are the most common errors we see photographers making when they are holding a DSLR.

  • Using a slow shutter speed while holding your camera. Anything below a 50th of a second needs more support or use of the camera shake techniques we listed below.
  • Arms too far from your body. Always tuck your arms close to your sides.
  • Standing on your toes. If you are trying to reach a higher position, instead of stand on something else, your feet should always be planted firmly on the ground for the most control.
  • Avoid camera shake by keeping a firm hold on your camera. Too many beginner photographers do not hold their cameras steady enough.
women holding a camera.


If you are more of a visual learner, look below to better your camera holding techniques.

The Best Way to “Hand Hold” your Camera: Quick Tip

When it comes to the best way to hold your camera in a stable manner, consider watching this video. The video is more for beginners but is short and simple to follow.

YouTube video

I’ve Been Holding My Camera Wrong?

This fun little video explains the before and after of how you may be holding your camera wrong. Gain more control over your images by watching and seeing side by side comparisons to what you may be doing wrong.

YouTube video

6 Ways to Hold a Camera for Slow Shutter Speeds and Sharp Images | Photography 101

If you are still feeling a little confused about all the ways you can hold a camera, then check out this video which gives you 6 techniques. This video is great for when you need to shoot in low light or at slower shutter speeds and don’t have a stable tripod.

YouTube video

Have a look at these related articles to help you shoot better and find your best focus points. All for free on our website, the biggest online resource for learning photography! Contact us if there is something we are missing that you would like to learn about!


We hope you enjoyed this post, and we would love to hear from you in the comments section below if you have more tips and tricks to share for properly holding a camera! Contact us today if you have more information on things you do to avoid blurry photography. We offer a video course as well that teaches you everything about photography, including camera holding techniques. Check out our 365 Days of Photography Course today!

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Krystal Kenney is an award-winning photographer residing in Paris, France. She has been photographing for over 10 years and enjoys teaching others about the craft. She spends most days shooting events, portraits, and weddings around Paris and working on writing new books.
Krystal Kenney is an award-winning photographer residing in Paris, France. She has been photographing for over 10 years and enjoys teaching others about the craft. She spends most days shooting events, portraits, and weddings around Paris and working on writing new books.

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