How to Take Better Photos - Photo Tips by Emilie

How to adjust shutter speed and ISO to create a non blurry image when taking pictures
I'm so happy to welcome Emilie from Photo by Emilie back on the blog today! If you've been reading our blog in this past year or so, then you know that I credit almost all of my photo-taking-skills to Miss Emilie and her amazing photography classes that she hosts both online, and here in Utah.

One technique that I was having issues with learning, was how to get those great action moments to be captured in a still, clear, focused image. Every time I tried to take a photo (no matter how much adjusting I would do) I ended up with fuzzy moving images for the end result.
So I reached out to Emilie and she schooled me in a little advanced lesson on how to capture a great quality image with a moving subject.

I was so happy to FINALLY have a better understanding of how to photograph movement better, that I asked Emilie if she'd be willing to share with you what she taught me, and happily she said yes!
So read closely and pay attention! This will TOTALLY save your pictures on Christmas morning when kids are ripping open presents, running around with big smiles on their faces and playing with toys. Because I promise you, they are NOT going to stop what they're doing to stand still for a picture. ha!

Take it away Emilie!
The most common reason for blurry images is a slow shutter speed.  If you shoot in automatic mode or aperture priority then your camera will often select a shutter speed that is too slow, hence a blurry image.
Shutter speed is the speed that the shutter opens, lets in the image and then closes.  Shutter speed manages two elements of your photo: the amount of light in your image and the amount of motion captured in your image.
When the shutter speed is on a lower/slower setting the shutter is open a longer amount of time letting in more light.  The slower the shutter speed the longer the shutter is open and the more light that is let in to create your image.  When the shutter speed is on a higher/faster setting the shutter is open less time letting in less light.  The faster the shutter speed the less time the shutter is open and the darker your image. 
When the shutter speed is on a lower/slower setting the shutter is open a longer amount of time capturing all the motion found in your scene.  The slower the shutter speed the longer the shutter is open and the more motion that is captured in your image.  The lower/slower the shutter the blurrier the image.  When the shutter speed is on a higher/faster setting the shutter is open less time capturing a smaller amount of "time" in our scene, stopping any motion that is happening.  The faster the shutter speed the less time the shutter is open and the less motion is captures.  The higher/faster the shutter the sharper your image. 
   I never shoot a portrait of a person less than a 250 shutter speed.  However, as you can see from the example above 250 is fast & doesn't allow a ton of light.  An image shot inside at 250 shutter speed tends to be a bit dark.  So what do you do???
After pulling up my blinds and turning on all my lights I set my camera to 800 ISO, 250 Shutter Speed and 2.8 F-Stop and this is my final image....
Learn more in my photography workshops:
-Shooting in Manual Mode
-Perfect Lighting Every time
-My Favorite Poses
-The Magic of Photoshop
Photo By Emilie Workshops:
Oh my goodness, could her new little girl be ANY cuter! gah! Not only do I love Emilie's incredible capability to explain photo jargon to me, but I also DIE over her fresh, eclectic, colorful style. It just makes me happy :)

Here are some photos I shot yesterday for "crazy sock day" using Emilie's tips.
Keep in mind, these are UNEDITED images.
I'm showing you the pictures that I took without any changes, other then my Shutter and ISO speed.
Crazy right!? (hee, hee) I think I've finally got it!

Honestly, I'm so happy to have Emilie to reference back to, when it's time to take fun photos like these. Don't you think that the jumping just really makes the moment? And it definitely wouldn't have been as cool, if these happy kiddos and their "crazy socks" would have been all blurry.

I know I've said it a million times before, but I can't stress to you ENOUGH how important capturing these fun, everyday moments with your loved ones really is.

*Invest in a GREAT camera.
*Take classes to learn how to use it.
*And then marvel at how amazing your life is through simple photos... because we forget too easily.

If you already have a DSLR camera and just need to hone in on your skills before the party-crazy holiday season fully sets in, you can contact Emilie at
From now, until Christmas you can use the code "TAKEOFF25" to get $25.00 off any class!

If you know you're asking for a DSLR camera for Christmas and may get one... then put Emilie's class on your list, right next to it. I promise, you'll be SO happy that you did

Happy Thursday Everyone!


  1. This is so helpful! I can't guarantee I'll never take another blurry photo again, but at least now I know why it's happening ha.

    ~Stop Me if You've Heard This One

  2. Great tips! I needed them too.

    Thank you for sharing ladies!

  3. Any tips on camera buying. DSLR is top on my list. I want something affordable, user friendly that turns out great photos of my kids and for my blog.

  4. Great tips. I still end up with blur from time to time because I'm so afraid of the photos being too dark.

  5. Oh mu gosh this is awesome! I have been wondering how to do this forever!! I will have to try this at Thanksgiving! Thanks Shelly!!

  6. I am doing a class with her in just a few weeks! I am so excited!!

  7. Thanks for the great photo tips, I sooo need to brush up!

  8. I just got a new camera a month or so ago but have no idea how to use it! I'll check out here site :) Thanks for the tips!!! (aka nucheysmommy)

  9. Thank you for this, written very well for the amateur camera user like me! :)

  10. I walked myself through your whole tutorial with my camera in hand, and sure learned a lot, I even went to my "For Dummies Book" and it said the same thing. I will work on it all again tomorrow, so it stays with me. Thanks for the help and I am now going to check into the online classes:) Have a great night.

  11. Very helpful tips! I've had my Rebel for 5 yrs and I'm still trying to figure it all out!

  12. Ok...still operating with a Nikon point and click over here. We would like to get a DSLR, but just not sure where to begin looking. Any tips/resources you'd like to share on finding a great camera without breaking the bank! :)

  13. Great tips! I bought a Nikon Coolpix p100 last year and loved it at the store, but couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get those action shots by reading the manual! Soccer season's over for us now, but like you said hopefully these tips will help me on Christmas morning!!

  14. This was really helpful. Thank you. I don't have a nice camera (yet...maybe next Christmas) but this is still helpful for my little snap shot one.

  15. THank you so much!! THis is so helpful! I just had a quick question. How did you get your text on the photo you labeled "Crazy Sock Day" What program did you use to add text? THanks so much!! I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog and all of your amazing decorating ideas!

  16. I wish we had someone like Emilie near us to teach me how to use my camera! I got it LAST year for Christmas and I just learned this week how to even adjust shutter speed! HA!

  17. I'm in the market for a professional camera and need to learn tips like this. Thank you so much, wonderful advice!

  18. Awesome! Thanks for the tips... Im hopping to get another DSLR soon :)

  19. Katie, you can use a program called Picnik (basic features are free but premium might be worth it if you snap a lot of photos) to add text to pictures.

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  21. I did have a beginners question. I see the first pics are indoors and the second appear outside, does the same apply when there is outdoor light? I am wondering because I took a bunch outside and they are totally blown out :(

  22. Thanks! My shots may not be perfect (I am taking photos of my kids playing sports) but, I know what to play with now to make them better. You are wonderful :)


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