So I happen to be a hunter and a photographer. After reading a discussion regarding sharper images in the forums I thought I would share a few tips that hunters use that also can easily be applied to taking sharper images.
When a hunter wants to sight in their rifle prior to a hunt, they use a vice to hold their rifle to eliminate shake for the best accuracy. A tripod is your ultimate gun vice. It will give you the best, sharpest photos.
However, just as a hunter don't take a gun vice out hunting, we can't always use a tripod, or sometimes it is simply not practical. So what are some tips a hunter uses to ensure the aim is true?
1 - Take your time. If your blood pressure is up, your heart is beating 200 beats per miunute and you are beathing heavily, your not going to take a steady shot. So relax and get that heart rate down. :)
2 - Control your breathing. A hunter will take a good breath, exhale and hold, and then take the shot. Do the same thing with your camera. It will steady your shot.
3 - Use available supports. Hunters will lean on trees, rocks, or whatever is available to stablize their rifle. This technique can also be used effectively when taking photos. Use any stable surface or structure to steady you and your camera.
4 - Beware of muscle fatigue. Although a camera (most of the time) is not as heavy as a rifle, if you hold your camera in one place for too long, you will feel your muscles start to tire. If that happens, relax for a minute, then try again. If you start to strain to keep your camera still, it won't be.