5 Helpful Tips to Taking Tack Sharp Photos

by | Technical, Top Tips

tack sharp photos

“How do I get tack sharp photos?”

This is the number one question I get asked in my Facebook Group and as a photography teacher. I find that taking tack sharp photos is the one thing most beginning photographers struggle with! Are you struggling with the same thing? You aren’t alone…it’s challenging to achieve perfect, tack sharp photos at the beginning. It’s frustrating when your photos are “soft” or out of focus. I know…it was my struggle as well!

But don’t you worry, you can achieve those perfect in-focus photos. Today, I am going to break it down for you. I am going to give you 5 tips that will get you on your way to achieving those perfect, tack sharp photos every time. After you read this, I want you to grab your camera and get out there and practice. I’d be willing to bet that you see a difference in your photos.

5 Tips to Taking Tack Sharp Photos

Shutter Speed

I find that many times people’s photos aren’t sharp because their shutter speed is too slow. Remember that your shutter speed is how long your shutter is open. The longer the shutter is open, the more room for shake or movement, resulting in a blur in your images and a soft, out of focus photo. I teach my students, especially when beginning to keep their shutter speed above 1/125. If you go below, make sure you use a tripod. Take a look at this cheat sheet for a more in-depth look at what shutter speed you should be using for what situation.


Remember, Aperture is how large your camera’s opening is (think of it like your pupil). People always want to create that blurry background in your photos, but what people don’t realize is shooting wide open can cause your photos to be a bit out of focus. Learning to shoot “wide open” comes in time and with a lot of practice, so when you’re starting out, try to shoot with a slightly smaller aperture (larger f stop).

camera aperture


So the third factor is ISO. If you’re using a high ISO, you’re going to end up with more “noise” in your photos, thus making the details appear fuzzy. Whenever you can, make sure that you are using the lowest ISO possible.

Single Point Focus

I have said it repeatedly when you shoot in manual mode; you take control of your camera and make the decisions. Deciding on what your camera focuses on is just as important. Now, I don’t mean changing from autofocus to manual focus. I just mean choosing a single point focus setting. Switching your camera to a single point focus mode gives you the control to choose what you want in focus. You can move this point to where you want your focus.

single point focus tack sharp photos

Back Button Focusing

This last tip is a game-changer. When you use back button focusing, you use a button on the back of your camera to set and hold focus. You are separating the focus and the shutter into two different buttons. You simply set the focus, and it stays. Setting back button focus various by the camera, so Google your brand or check your manual.

I hope this helps and begins to answer the question, “how do I get tack sharp photos?” If you have more questions, head over to my Learn Photography with Dena FB Group.

Learning how everything works together to achieve focus, and the perfect picture is complicated. Like I said, I know…I’ve been there. If you’re ready to get focus in your photography come join me in Beginners Photography Essentials, and watch your photos go from snapshots to amazing photos in no time!

Lifestyle Photographer & Mentor

Hi, I’m Dena, a natural light lifestyle photographer with 20+ years of experience capturing other people’s memories and teaching photographers how to understand and easily use their cameras.

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You have a great camera, but you still aren’t getting the photos you want — the photos that truly WOW you! My Photography Essentials Cheat Sheets will help you improve your photos in just minutes!