Are you looking for ways to hold your camera steady without the use of a tripod? Pro Photographer, Levi Sim will show you some tips on how to do just that!

Images by © Levi Sim

Historically, if you wanted to make an HDR image, you had to use the biggest, steadiest tripod with a cable release and a timer to ensure that there was no movement between frames. Now, Aurora HDR does such a great job at aligning images that I shoot most of my HDR's handheld. Still, you should do your best to minimize camera movement between frames and during the longer exposures in your bracket. Here are some tips on how to do that.

Tip 1: Stance and Grip

You should stand in a very steady position. Put your feet on the same level and stand with your feet about should-width apart. If you move to recompose your shot, don't keep your eye glued to the viewfinder and look where your feet are going: no shot is worth a twisted ankle.

The way you hold the camera makes a huge difference in your steadiness. Many people have a habit of holding their camera overhand with the fingers of the left hand going over the top of the lens. in this case, most of the camera weight is in the right hand, which also has to work the buttons.

Instead, hold the camera in the palm of your left hand. When you hold it in the palm of your hand, you rest the camera on the bones in your left arm and you free your right hand to work the buttons, which means when it's time to trip the shutter there will be less movement. Hold your camera like this all the time and you'll also look more like the pros.

Tip 2: Tuck In Your Wings

Holding the camera in your left palm puts the weight of it onto your arm bones. You should further transfer that weight into your whole body by tucking in your elbows close to your body. This keeps your arms from fatiguing and becoming more wobbly. Tucking in your wings places the weight of the camera onto your big steady legs. 

Tip 3: Glue It To Your Brow

Now that your two arms are tucked in, make a strong third point of contact by holding the camera tight to your brow or forehead. You'll have a hard time getting a steady shot if you're trying to shoot from the back LCD screen. You may need to adjust the diopter on your viewfinder so that you can focus your eye clearly with it tight to your brow. If you have glasses, try tilting your head forward a little more and using the top of your brow. You may even be able to find an after-market eyecup that makes it more comfortable to hold your camera tight to your face. With these three points of contact holding your camera you just need to gently engage your core muscles and become a solid pillar of picture-making steadiness.

Tip 4: Exhale, Roll, and Follow Through

Just as marksmen do, take a breath and slowly exhale as you trip the shutter. Instead of plunging down on the shutter button, which moves the camera, position your forefinger to gently roll across the shutter. This doesn't make a strong downward force as the camera fires. Lastly, follow through by keeping your finger on the shutter button until each frame has finished recording. Don't push the shutter and then release it — just keep it gently depressed so there's no movement between frames in your bracket.

Tip 5: Check the Box

Now all you have to do is launch Aurora HDR and check the box for Alignment. That little box has changed my life because I shoot more brackets than ever before and get more great pictures than ever. I don't have to carry a weighty tripod with me, and my family doesn't have to stop their hike and wait for me to set up a shot with a tripod. As long as I take a breath and think about my stance, my grip, and my followthrough, I can shoot sharp brackets even under lowlight situations and end up with terrific photos. Who knew such a little checkbox could be so powerful?