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.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

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  1. Image for Brenda Brenda

    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! Brenda

  2. Image for Leo at Cottage at the Crossroads Leo at Cottage at the Crossroads

    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. Image for aimee {sixteen fourteen} aimee {sixteen fourteen}

    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.

  4. Image for Shannon @ aka design Shannon @ aka design

    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! xo, Shannon

  5. Image for Keeping it Cozy Keeping it Cozy

    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!

  6. Image for Beverly Beverly

    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.♥

  7. Image for Peggy Peggy

    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!

  8. Image for Kim Kim

    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.

  9. Image for Pam@frippery Pam@frippery

    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?

  10. Image for Sarah Sarah

    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! Sarah

  11. Image for Kelly Kelly

    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.

  12. Image for Geneva Geneva

    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!

  13. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    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!!!

  14. Image for

    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.

  15. Image for Laura Laura

    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! Laura

  16. Image for Gina Gina

    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!

  17. Image for Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door

    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!

  18. Image for Becky Becky

    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!

  19. Image for Marian Marian

    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 $$!

  20. Image for Elzabeth@ Blue Clear Sky Elzabeth@ Blue Clear Sky

    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.

  21. Image for Lori Lori

    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!

  22. Image for Lori Lori

    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 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!! :)

  23. Image for Jo @ To a Pretty Life Jo @ To a Pretty Life

    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.

  24. Image for Ally Ally

    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...

  25. Image for Andrea Andrea

    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!

  26. Image for Christina Christina

    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!

  27. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    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! Kelly

  28. Image for Sheila @sZinteriors Sheila @sZinteriors

    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 :-)

  29. Image for Nana Diana Nana Diana

    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

  30. Image for Suzy @ Worthing Court Suzy @ Worthing Court

    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!

  31. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

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

  32. Image for Athena at Minerva's Garden Athena at Minerva's Garden

    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!

  33. Image for bj bj

    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....?

  34. Image for breida @ breida @

    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!! breida

  35. Image for Claudine Claudine

    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!!! Hugs,

  36. Image for Tracee Tracee

    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!!

  37. Image for Anne Anne

    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. xx Anne

  38. Image for sewit sewit

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

  39. Image for Msshe Msshe

    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. Sheila

  40. Image for Heather Heather

    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!!! :D ~Heather

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