Simple Tip For Sharper Photographs

Simple Tip For Sharper Photographs


Simplest Tip Graphic

I wanted to tell you this tip for a while.

But I was nervous.


Because then you might actually think I know what I am doing when it comes to photography.

And I don’t.

I mean…..I know a little.

A very little.

And sometimes….knowing a little is the worst.  It’s like climbing Mount Everest in the middle of winter……and starting off in shorts and a t-shirt.  You didn’t really understand what the climb was all about.  You never even thought you might need a snowsuit or sunglasses or granola or water or heating pads for your mittens or a pick or special climbing shoes or rope or a shovel or a tent.

You were just happy to be at the mountain.

And then someone tells you everything you need to know.

And learn.  And buy.  And understand.

And slowly… start to realize that there is more to this journey than you ever imagined.


scrabble letters with wooden blocks


But every journey begins with a single step.

And here’s mine.

Here’s my photography tip…’s the easiest, simplest way to get clear, crisp images.


cotton balls and glass jar and wooden drawers


It’s called a timer.

And a tripod.

That’s it.




It works because using a timer prevents your camera from shaking.  Because even if you hold completely still, even if you went to “still” school and learned how to be the stillest of the still…..your camera still shakes.  It shakes when you hold it.  It shakes when you press the button to take the picture.  Sometimes it even shakes more when you are trying to be still.


timer button


The timer is a little button on your camera that looks like this.

Most cameras have one (point and shoot cameras usually have one, too).


Single Frame


When I press the timer button it takes me to this screen.

This is a single frame button.

This is what the camera displays when there is no delay in taking the photograph.


Two Second Delay


Here’s the screen after I click over to the right on the menu to set the timer to a two-second delay.

Then I place my camera on the tripod.

And focus.

Click the button to take the photograph.

And step away so that the camera stays perfectly still.

Then the camera clicks to take the picture……

…..without any shaking.


joy scrabble tile blurry


I took this picture just as the sun was going down.

So the shutter had to stay open just a little longer to catch as much light as possible.

Look how blurry the image is.


joy scrabble tiles


Here’s another picture taken from the exact same angle……except I set the timer and placed the camera on a tripod.

No shaking.

Clear crisp picture.

Every time.


wooden birds


So…..f you are already half-way up the mountain munching on granola with heated pads in your mittens.

And timers and tripods are something you learned about long ago.

Can you help this climber ou with any simple photography tips?


I’m still trying to put my snowshoes on 🙂

PS  Here’s a few other photography posts that might be helpful like this post on how to take better pictures of a room and simple tips for better photos.

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  1. Thanks so much for the tip! Simple, but wow – what a difference. You illustrated your point perfectly. I’ll be getting a tripod very soon!

  2. Thank you for the tip. Jane and I are going this morning to buy our new D 51 Nikon. It will be a weekend of playing and discovering how to use it. I hope the difference in the photos on Cottage at the Crossroads will be noticeable Thanks again..

  3. i have started doing that and it is so much better… this week though i have been a little lazy with my bum leg…. next week tripod again!

  4. FINALLY!!! I’ve been waiting for you to share your photography tips…because if you’re on the mountain in your shorts and t-shirt, I’m still at home pinning images of Mount Everest and considering a trip someday. ;-P Thanks a million.

  5. Great tip!! Will definitely try this, so easy to (love that).

  6. My tripod is my BFF for taking great pictures! And the timer is especially great for taking step by step tutorial pics when I’m working on a project at night (and the shutter has to be open longer to let in more light). 🙂
    Great tips!

  7. I think I need a tripod… I always end up with the shakes while trying to take photos! Your photography is absolutely gorgeous…. these photos are stunning. Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. SOOOO need to do this! thanks for the fabulous tip!!

  9. Yep, it definitely does the trick. Now, I just need to make time to take real photos instead of my on the run versions. I keep telling myself that I’ll get there one of these days.

    Happy Friday, KariAnne. I’m working from home today, and loving it.♥

  10. Snowshoes? Really we were supposed to have snowshoes? And here I brought my crocs!!! Thanks tip on the use of a tripod… my sweet hubby got me a small gorillaz tripod for our anniversary. Have a great weekend!! We are just getting underway to head out for the family reunion…. 10 hrs away!

  11. I use my tripod and the two second timer and the low ISO of 100 all the time at home, but then out and about that all has to change.

  12. Oh my goodness. This is simple but brilliant. I always try to use my tripod but not the timer. Duh! Thanks so much for pointing this out. I am going on a picture taking frenzy as soon as I get off the computer. This is why I blog. I have learned so many wonderful tips from people like you. Yippee, timer, who woulda thunk it? Obviously not me. Have a great weekend, Pam
    Oh may I link to this post and spread the word for those of us in need of all the help we can get?

  13. I want to learn how to take my own picture so that I look twenty years younger and thirty pounds lighter. Please write about that next time!

  14. A simple tip but very useful for me! I always think if I just brace myself enough, my photos won’t blur, but I think you’ve shown that a tripod just makes it that much better. Guess I have a new item to add to my wishlist!

  15. Great tips! Now I need a camera. I dropped mine and broke it this summer when a bird I was trying to take a picture of tried to kill me.

  16. A tripod is on my list of gifts I want! I went to Still School and you’re right, my degree isn’t getting me as far as they promised. 😉

  17. That is a great tip. I have no idea if my camera has that feature though. Guess I could look it up on my manual. Ha! I do have a focus setting that I try to remember to use. If I snap pics too fast, I usually have to take them over. Guess that’s why the timer on a tripod is the perfect solution. Your pics are always good. Thanks for sharing this advice.

  18. I was reading your post about cheesecake in a jar yesterday, and wondered “How in the world does she get such beautiful photographs” … they’re just stunning! I’m so glad you took the time to share this tip with just makes sense and I can’t wait to try it out for myself. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

  19. Love it Kari….just started using my tripod and now off to using my timer…I have the Nikon D7000 that has that bit of a “shake resistant mode” built in, but nothing beats the tripod….and when I use it, I feel like a “photographer”…Well, I can pretend…..keep climbing those mountains Kari!!!


  21. Thanks for the tip. I am in the market to purchase a DSLR camera and will be looking to purchase a tripod now at the same time. What a difference it makes in the pictures.

  22. Great tip….now I just need a tripod:). Love your blog…keep your creative juices flowing:)

  23. Thank goodness you posted this because I have wanted to ask you about your photos for weeks and I know I have used up all of my question markers!

    Thank you!

  24. I also just voted for you in Country Living’s Blue Ribbon Blogger’s Award contest. Reader’s can vote once everyday until end. Now, don’t be shy and go and ask your readers to vote so when you win i can say,”Hey, I know her!!!!” Even though I really don’t!

  25. This is sounds like it will work much better than my method…pretend I’m getting a mammogram and hold my breath! 🙂

  26. Okay, tripod I knew, but timer! duh! So simple. But then you have to make yourself that the time to get the dang tripod out an actually use it. I’m always in such a hurry! Just saw the comment on CL blogger award. Off to vote for you as well! And I’m still laughing out loud at Pam’s comment!

  27. This is a great post. Congratulations on being a nominee in the Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger awards. You deserve it this is a great blog!

  28. I love this tip! Actually, it made me burst out laughing, because I should have thought of it myelf and didn’t. So thinks for joggin my memory. I have been having problems with my light meter and am having a really hard time getting clear pics in my dining room, which is where all the great changes in my house are going on. I have been thinking of getting another camera, but all I really need is a tripod. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You just saved me a bundle of $$!

  29. This is a great tip Karianne! I knew about the tripod, but the timer makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing. Your pictures are truly beautiful.

  30. I’m still trying to find my snowshoes 😉 I have wanted a tripod for awhile now and this just proves that I need to get one soon. Thanks for the tip.

  31. Great suggestion. Tripods are wonderful as can be tables, car roofs, rock walls, etc….
    One observation, your Joy photo IS in focus and not blurred by movement!!!! If it weren’t, the letter O would not be so clear.
    What you’ve got going on in that photo is depth of field.
    – Remember, the great the depth of field, the greater the fstop……If you don’t use manual settings, you may want to make a mental note of them while using the auto mode…..
    I learned that fstop mantra 150 years ago during a photo class at my community college-it can be the difference between snap shots and art!

    btw, your photos are all nicely composed!

  32. Now I’M embarassed for jumping the know it all gun!!!
    The first photo did not pull in when I read your post-you ARE right about the blurr factor and tripod.
    However, the depth of field-f/stop mantra was a real eye opener for me when composing photos. Your tripoded JOY photo has a very short depth of field-it everything were fully in focus, the depth of field would be long… have control of what you want by changing your f/stop.
    gheesh! That’s what I get for spending my Labor Day off reading blogs and not cleaning my house!! 🙂

  33. This is a total “duh” moment for me. I always try to hold my breath so that I’m the stillest of the stills…yeah not so much.

  34. Thanks for reminding me! It’s something I’ve known for a few months, but I’ve been getting lazy in pulling out my little gorilla tripod, and I’ve never used the 2-second timer.

  35. Gorgeous pictures, thank you so much for sharing the timer tip and Jennifer Rizzo’s blog (also gorgeous)!

  36. Thanks for the tip – I was wondering why I had to take 346,576 pics before I got a usable one. Had to LOL at Stephanie who was nearly killed by a bird she was taking a picture of. Hee hee.
    I don’t even know if my lamo camera has the capability of a timer…

  37. Thanks for the tip, KariAnne. As soon as my camera is repaired and back in working order, I’m going to try out the tripod & timer method 🙂

  38. you are far too modest with respect to your photography skills. Your photos are GORGEOUS! Just this am, when taking pics for my post, I had my camera on my tripod, like a good girl, but I was trying so hard not to shake the camera as I pressed the button. Then my angel did a post on using the timer, and to make matters more perfect, has a canon also, and the heavens opened, and the choir of angels sang, and all became clear. Thank you, KariAnne, for being my blogging angel!

  39. Well, I’ve got to get my timer working because my tripod alone doesn’t always do it. Fun post – thanks so much! 🙂

  40. There is actually a hole for a tripod in my little point and shoot..Good idea for stills for sure..Makes a huge difference..Not always practical..

  41. I was expelled from still school. 🙁 That’s why I have a mini tripod. That I’ve never used. It’s with my camera in my camera basket right on the shelf next to my computer. But it’s coming out at this very moment, to be used for the first time. Thanks for the tip and reminder, I didn’t realize it made that much of a difference!

  42. wow. what a helpful post. It makes me want to pull out the tripod I’ve never used.
    Thanks KariAnne.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

  43. Now you can take perfectly clear pics of my frozen body when it’s finally air lifted off that mountain!

    That way my family can identify me since you know I’d sashay up that mountain in the Kelly essentials – flip flops, lip gloss and giant sunglasses!
    Now I just need a tripod!

  44. Thank you for the incentive to step out and want to give this a shot! I’ve had a tripod for a while now, but seem determined to stick with my old habits method of taking photos… but your post has inspired me to take a chance at trying something new! I hope you have a great weekend 🙂

  45. I have the timer, just need the tripod now…

  46. Congrats on the blue ribbon blogger award finalist status!! I was so excited to see your blog there!! Woo Hoo!!

  47. Oh- I have a tripod and am ashamed to say I have never used it…AND my photography reflects that fact. Thanks so much for the tip. I am our newest follower- xo Diana

  48. Great tip Kari. ONE of these days I’ll get around to learning about using my camera in manual. Right now I’m skeered! One thing I just happened to notice the other day is a little switch on the side of my lens that says “VR” and you select on or off. The VR stands for vibration reduction. I turned mine on and I can tell a little bit of a difference. I don’t know if all lens have this feature or not. Have a great weekend!

  49. Hey girl, congrats on the Country Living blogger nomination. Voting for you .

  50. Dude, I’m off to get a tripod!

  51. Mmm I wonder if I can get a tripod for Iphone??? 😉

  52. Thank you!!! I have been admiring your photography and wanted to know how you make your pictures so perfect. I think we have the same camera. I’m going to try this out and see what happens. Thank you for sharing this awesome tip!!

  53. Great tip! Thanks for sharing! I love the different photos that you took to show us the difference! Have a great weekend!

  54. Yep that will help every time!! Great tip!

  55. Hmmm. I use the tripod but I wonder if a timer will help my 8 mexa pixel DSLR that’s been dropped thrice take better pictures! Thanks for the tip!

  56. told ya they’d love it …


  57. That’s great advice. Makes want to go buy one right now. Makes a huge difference!

  58. Thank you for the tripod and timer tips, KariAnne–I am using a point and click until I can save up to get a better camera, but I will check and see if my camera has a timer function, and will give this a try. And I will have to figure out something for a tripod–this little camera doesn’t have any way that I can see to use one–I’ll have to get creative!

  59. I do have a tripod but had no idea about the timer setting…I have a point and shoot…I’ll see if it has a timer.
    Thanks, Kari…..
    How is your sis doing….?

  60. Karianne! Congratulations on being nominated for the Country Living Award. Yowzer! I just voted for you and hope you are the hands down winner-you deserve it. Also, thanks for the photog tip!

  61. i finally decided yesterday that I MUCT buy a tripod and a remote – I needed to take pictures of MYSELF and had to have my 10 year old son stand in as my tripod!! He did better than you would expect – but those pictures could have been a LOT better!! Thanks for another nudge in the right direction. I was wearing my bathing suit when i got to the mountain and started cimbing!!

  62. Awww, thank you, Karianne, for sharing!!!!
    I am climbing the mountain in shorts and t-shirt, lol!!!
    I HATE to say I take pictures with my cell!!!!
    I find the whole downloading so time consuming…
    ANyway, one more motivation to use my camera and to use the timer!!
    I have a tripod somewhere!!!

  63. Thanks a lot for that tip 😉 some times I think that we forget some of the simplest things to make our life easier. You also topped it off by using a Canon which is what I have so it was even easier again. Thank you!!

  64. Amazing! Time for me to find the tripod and purchase a remote! Happy Labor Day!

  65. Great tip Karianne! I know this has to work because your photos are always so beautiful! Now just to find my old tri-pod…

  66. Karianne,
    Yes I agree a tripod does help allot.But we have a new camera it is a Sony and I have not had to use our tripod much because it has a steady shot and so far it works pretty well! But our other camera every photo was with a tripod.

  67. I have a tripod that I never, ever, ever use. You’ve convinced me that I need to dig it out and start using it. Your photos always look so amazing!!

  68. I love simple, useful tips like this! I Actually understand it. Now do you have any simple advice for photo editing?

  69. wow thanks kari. this is so helpful. i’m definitely buying a tripod. 🙂

  70. Great tips. I finally started using a tripod, but I will need to look into the timer feature. I have major problems with blur because I move the camera when I depress the button. Practice. Practice. Practice.

  71. I thought something was something wrong with me; I am standing still and as soon as I press the button tremors ensue. I love that “still school”. I am soooo excited about this tip! Thanks!

  72. Great tip – and I must say I have always admired your photography so you must be doing something right! I have been putting off learning how to use my new DSLR camera. I don’t know why I am so intimidated!
    Enjoy the weekend!

  73. Thank you so much for sharing the great tutorial on mitering corners on napkins. So elegant looking. Thanks also for the tripos tip. I can’t wait to try it!

  74. Thanks for the tip my friend!! I figured out the buttonology on my camera so I can try this today! I love learning new tips and by the way – I brought enough granola to share it with you on the way up that mountain!!! 😀 ~Heather

  75. And now we know why your photos are amazing. You are a rock star, girlie!!!