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Perhaps one thing that a lot of people can improve on is holding their camera steady. These techniques are for when you decide to forgo using flash or if using flash is ineffective (such as in night shots). Camera shake is a completely random event due to the random (and sometimes imperceptible) movements of your body. The following techniques can be used separately or combined, depending on the situation.

The Triangle
The strongest and most stable position your arms can be is with the elbows tucked into your sides. The reason you don't see martial artists doing self defense with their arms fully extended is because the further out their hands are from their bodies, the less strength and stability they have. Similarly, if you have your arms fully extended away from your body with camera in hand, you probably won't get a sharp picture. A physical image stabilization system can help this, but nothing beats good technique.

The most stable position that you can hold your camera is with both elbows at your side, tucked into your body. From there, if you have a digital SLR, raise the viewfinder to your eye keeping your elbows in the same place and use your face to brace it, thus creating three points of stability (both elbows and your head). If you have a point and shoot, keep your elbows in the same place and raise the camera to a comfortable level.

Summary: Elbows tucked in, camera held close.

Control Your Breathing
This is actually a technique used by snipers in the armed forces, adapted for photographers. The point at which there is the least air in your lungs is when your body tends to be the most stable and relaxed. Thus, the technique is as follows: take a deep breath in, breathe out (not too fast or slow), and at the point when the air is out of your lungs (but before you want to breathe in again), press the shutter button to take the picture.

Summary: Breathe in, breathe out, *click*.

Be MacGyver (Use What You Have)
There are a lot of things that you can use to stabilize your camera. Walls and tables are excellent for keeping a camera steady. Sure, you might look a little uncomfortable while you're taking the picture, but at least you'll get the shot! I braced the camera against a wall in the dim light to get the following shot:

National geographic photographers with long lenses often use sandbags or bags of rice to stabilize their lenses. If you don't have a bag of rice handy you could just use your jacket or even your shirt to stabilize your camera.

Summary: Be creative, use what's around you.

Get Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization (also known as IS, VR, OIS, etc.) is one of the great inventions of modern photography. It uses gyroscopes and a moving lens element or movable sensor to counteract the shaking of your hands. There are a number of compact cameras with image stabilization available, and they are not much more expensive than other compacts, just keep an eye out. For SLR users, some camera bodies have image stabilization built in, but it is not as effective as in-lens image stabilization, which can leave a large hole in your pocket. Now, image stabilizers won't work miracles, but they will definitely help you get a sharper picture when the lights are dim.

Summary: Image Stabilization rocks.

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