Shoot Sharper Handheld Photos by Using Marksmanship Techniques

If you’ve ever tried shooting in a dark location without using flash or a tripod, you probably know how difficult it can be to remove camera shake from your photos. Alex Jansen — a photography enthusiast who’s an officer in the US Army — has written up an awesome tutorial on how you can apply some of the tricks used by rifle shooters to shooting with a camera:

I am by no measures a “pro,” but I understand my fundamentals very well, and this specific set has been drilled into my head so many times that it is now second-nature. I am going to teach you how to “shoot” your camera like a high end rifle because at the end of the day, the fundamentals stay the same in every aspect.

The guide focuses on the US Army’s four fundamentals of marksmanship: steady position, aiming, breath control, and trigger control.

Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds [Pentax Forums]

Image credits: Photographs by Alex Jansen/Pentax Forums

  • Damir A

    Those are the most awkward positions ever. Especially the fifth one. 

  • pf330ci

    His lens cap is on…..Psshhh Noob…

  • Spider- Man

    so are poses for portraits but the pic turns out great, what’s your point?

  • Royce Walston Jr

    A more effective route would be the one touted by Joe McNally found here
    I have used McNally’s technique with great success.

  • Canoncinema

    REMEMBER next time to remove the LENS cap!!

  • senencito

    Not awkward at all, they look pretty damn solid. Joe Mcnally also has a similar primer on poses with something he calls “Da Grip”

    very good video

  • Spider- Man

    it’s a pin hole, hence the steady ;)

  • laurie Parker

    the top three i do a lot, the bottom left and right I do if I done that middle one I would be flat on my back lol

  • Adam

    Wow, what’s up with all the retarded comments above? His lens cap is on? Really? Gee, I didn’t notice at all, for you see, I actually own a camera, and I actually take photos, and I immediately saw the value in the theory being applied here. Try taking a photo once in a while, you pixel-peeping hipster morons.

  • Romain Cd

    prozac is the best!

  • Danielgballard

    As a long time photographer and competitive shooter with handguns, I see the value. The fundamentals of good position, breath control, and a light trigger finger all make a positive difference. Some positions look awkward, but after you practice them and use them with the weight of the camera doing it’s part the awkwardness falls away. 

  • Byron Chin

    Or just take it one step further, and use a Bushhawk:

  • pf330ci

    You mad bro?

  • Marc

    What a sec, you can shoot sharper photos by bracing your elbows against your body? that’s revolutionary! [/sarcasm]

  • Canoncinema

    Shoot film without you lens cap …
    Who is a Moran …..
    Oopss the one that mentioned it ….
    No reply ciao

  • Michael Davis

     I’ve been telling people to do this for years and it’s dumbfounding how many have never thought to do so.

  • Tyson Williams

    Take better photos as soon as you take the lens cap off… :)

  • Anonymous

    Use a camera like a rifle? What about the legendary Photosniper?

  • 3dhd_trailers

    This guy is right-on. Still images are one thing  … shooting video can read your pulse into the frame if you don’t have a good steady support factor

  • Seasidebumette

    Just hold your breath and then click…haven’t had a blurry picture yet !

  • Kevbo

     But he’s getting a really sharp shot of it.

  • mythbuster

      It seems very interesting indeed. I usually  shot with a similar approach.

  • Eddie

    It’s a good bit of technique many could use. Given how many twits i see holding a DSLR like it’s a dirt diaper and using the LCD. The 5th pose looks silly but actually i’ve shot like that many times funnily enough . finding a way to get the balance and support is crucial to sharp images. SR/IS etc may help but good technique matters just as much

  • Matsyd

    What a Friggan Clown

  • Guesty

    These comments are some of the dumbest I’ve read. Do you really think the guy didn’t know the lens cap was on? Many to most of you people need a life or a clue.

  • Adam Lipstadt

    Bone, ligament, muscle.  Bottom of the breath, 80% exhale, watch your pulse, roll the trigger/shutter release… seriously, this is enlightening?  Pose 5 is iffy because of muscle tension.  I prefer a weaver like stance.

  • Cool

      Bet he can shoot your eye out at 500 yards…

  • Guest

    I use a lot of these postitions, but use a converted rifle stock with my camera mounted on it.  Since I have been a shooter all my life, it is much more natural to me to shoot a camera with a long lens this way.

  • Sheri Baker Johnson

    steady stance and breathing control is what I have always used, I guess my training in the Army on the range is relevant, never thought of that till now :)

  • Wendy

    Yeah, this is pretty standard stuff in my opinion. Follow through is also importent, especially when using a lens without IS.

  • Joel Alan Decker

    #1 looks a little awkward lol but overall good idea. 

  • mikah

    +1 Joe McNally Da grip , when I use it with my 70-200 my left hand is clamped to my right wrist & I raise my elbow to horizontal to support the lens.
    Shoot a burst of 4 or 5 will normally get a sharp shot for example a 40th second with a 200mm lens.