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Why Smartphone Photos Come Out Blurry & How to Fix It

October 6, 2016

Blur is a problem for all photographers, whether they use a mobile phone or a digital camera to capture their subjects. Even when there is no movement in the frame, blur can appear in the final product, putting a damper on even the best mobile photography. Let’s examine the four main causes of blurry smartphones photos and how to avoid them.

Background Focus

A smartphone camera may attempt to focus on the background, rather than the subject, if an up-close photo is being taken. An easy way to remedy this problem is to tap on the subject within the frame – this will encourage the camera to hone in on the object or individual, rather than the background.

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Camera Movement

This problem is one that plagues mobile photographers and still photographers alike. In the event that the camera is not completely still during the shot, blur is likely to emerge. Keeping the hand still while snapping on a smartphone is the easiest way to eliminate the potential for blurry smartphones photos. Try placing your elbow on a sturdy surface or squeezing your hand to your chest. Sometimes, a tripod can be the best way to ensure maximum stillness.

Why iPhone Photos Come Out Blurry & How to Fix It

Low Lighting

Low lighting may encourage blur, especially combined with a shaky hand. The image sensor of a smartphone is small, compared to traditional cameras – this makes it challenging for them to gather light in a dim environment. As the camera attempts to take in illumination over a few extra seconds, any slight movement creates blur in the final product. Today, many smartphones have optical image stabilization, or OIS. This controls the path of the image through the lens and onto the image sensor, increasing clarity in the final photo.
Why iPhone Photos Come Out Blurry & How to Fix It

Moving Subject Matter

There is little you can do about the motion of a subject, especially if you’re capturing an activity, such as a sport. Sometimes that’s the look your going for, and it’ll give your image a unique effect. But, if you are trying to reduce blur in an action shot, stillness and lighting are essential. Keeping the camera still and giving the lens an opportunity to take in light will translate into crisper mobile photography.
Why iPhone Photos Come Out Blurry & How to Fix It

How Else Can You Reduce Blur?

Using smartphone camera features can also help, such as HDR. High dynamic range allows the smartphone camera to take three shots at different exposures – under-exposed, overexposed and in the middle – and combine them into one image. The final product is a photo that has enhanced details in the shadows and highlights of the image.
Why iPhone Photos Come Out Blurry & How to Fix It

Burst mode is another feature that can be used to capture an ideal, blur-free image. When turned on, the camera takes multiple shots within a few seconds or less. In the end, the photographer has more options – and perhaps a blur-free photo – to choose from.

Why iPhone Photos Come Out Blurry & How to Fix It

Finally, flash can be used to provide illumination when natural light is not available. Just keep in mind that it has the potential to wash out colors, such as skin tones, and may bounce off of reflective surfaces.

Why iPhone Photos Come Out Blurry & How to Fix It

By taking a few of these features and tips into account, blurry smartphones photos can evolve into a minimal concern.


Written by Krystle Vermes.

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Krystle Vermes
Krystle Vermes

Krystle Vermes is a professional writer, blogger and podcaster with a background in online and print journalism. Passions include everything tech, sports, and the paranormal. When she isn’t freelance reporting, she’s running her paranormal blog, GetSpooked.net. Krystle is a graduate of Suffolk University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism.

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