Nothing is more disappointing than taking an excellent photo, only to discover it’s not as sharp as you want it to be.
Blurry images are extra challenging to work with, and you don’t always have the option to go back and take another round of photos.
Fortunately, there are many ways to fix blurry pictures, from online software to computer apps, to professional restoration services. In this guide, you’ll learn why photographs turn out blurry and how you can sharpen them in just a few clicks.
Why Do Photographs Get Blurry?
Blurry photos can be caused by many different factors, from the equipment you’re using to how you’re handling it. Below are a few common reasons you might produce a blurry picture.
You’re Using A Slow Shutter Speed
If your handheld camera doesn’t come with image stabilization technology, a too-slow shutter speed will result in a blurry picture. In fact, your image can blur in just 1/80 of a second if you’re not taking note of your settings.
As a rule of thumb, set your shutter speed faster the longer your lens is. A 60mm lens, for example, will require a shutter speed of 1/60 or faster to avoid blurred photos.
You’re Taking Handheld Photos
Some amateur photographers prefer handheld cameras instead of tripods. However, handheld photos often suffer from camera shake, especially under low-light conditions.
Tripods solve this problem by stabilizing your camera to keep your image sharp. If you prefer something more portable, consider a handheld monopod, which is compact and flexible.
Your Subject Is Moving
If you’re photographing a moving subject, a too-slow shutter speed without stabilization can result in multiple blurry pictures. Unless you use a lower shutter speed deliberately to convey abstract movement, you should increase it to capture fast-moving subjects in more detail. The best setting to capture motion is with a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second.
Does your shutter speed only go up to a certain fraction? You can offset this problem by using a shorter lens.
You’re Enlarging The Photo Too Much
If you’re using an editing tool to enlarge your picture, zooming in more than 100% on your screen can over-magnify your image and make every detail appear blurry. When resizing your photo, don’t go beyond 1:1 magnification on your screen.
Your Lens Is Cheap
If you’re new to photography, it can be tempting to purchase a cheaper lens. However, generic-brand lenses provide poor focus, and it’s extra challenging to unblur pictures that are already low quality, to begin with.
Cheap lenses are also more prone to damage and getting dirty. Always wipe down your lens with a microfiber cloth to prevent scratches, dirt, and fungus, which can blur your final photos.
You’re Using Auto-Focus Instead Of Manual Focus
While the auto-focus setting is highly intuitive, your camera may focus on the wrong target or capture motion poorly. Using manual focus instead can prevent blurring, especially if you’re using a tripod or capturing a shallow depth of field.
However, if you prefer to take your pictures using an auto-focus setting, depress your shutter halfway to get it to focus on a particular point. If you take multiple pictures in succession, use a back-button focus technique. This technique separates your camera’s focus and shutter functions, keeping your auto-focus system from readjusting.
You’re Using A Filter
If you are using iPhone or Android smartphones or a free photo-taking app, stay away from filters – at least, for the initial photo. Placing a filter on top of your image can reduce sharpness and blur details. Instead, take raw photographs with your default camera app.
iPhone and Samsung models have impressive camera apps that automatically adjust sharpness and come with built-in editing features.
How To Unblur Your Photographs
If you need to unblur a picture, there are many photo editing software and even completely free online tools that can help. We also have one trick for those who don’t want to DIY, but you can try these methods first:
Use Photo Editing Software To Fix Blurry Pictures
There are several photo editing options that you can download on your computer or smartphone. Here are the top three best apps to download for sharpening your images.
Adobe Photoshop is everyone’s favorite photo editor. It’s easy to use, has dozens of features, and provides professional results. While it comes with a free version, Photoshop’s premium editing tools are incredibly useful in fixing a blurry camera roll.
To unblur your photo using Photoshop:
- Select “enhance” from the filters menu.
- Select the unsharp mask and slide the radius setting until the blurred image is sharp.
- If you prefer more detail in your shot, duplicate the background layer and apply a high pass filter at 10%.
- Set the image’s blend mode to hard light and adjust the opacity to your liking.
- Apply the shake reduction and smart sharpen adjustments until you are satisfied with the results.
Always save and download multiple copies of your images when working in Photoshop. When you save a backup image file, you can refer to the original or revert to it if you want to undo your edits.
If you prefer to use a free app that allows you to edit your photo online, try GIMP. You can unblur your picture in just a few steps:
- Upload your picture and select the sharpen tool from the advanced panel box.
- Select a portion of your image to sharpen it – the app will automatically apply the edit to your picture. However, you can also adjust this manually.
The Snapseed app is compatible with newer smartphones, easy to use, and even has a help center if you want to know more about the online tool.
To unblur your photos via the Snapseed app, simply:
- Upload your photos to the app and select the details menu option.
- Select “sharpen” or “structure,” then “show more details” to customize your settings.
If using an Android, iPhone, or computer app for sharpening your photos, you can find many video tutorials online.
Hire Us To Fix Your Photos
If you prefer a professional touch, we can sharpen and edit your blurred photos for you! At Image Restoration Center, we can adjust your entire camera roll in as quickly as 24 to 72 hours! Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Upload Your Photos
You can scan your blurry photos or take pictures of them, then upload them to our checkout page. We’ll confirm once we’ve received your order, then start on your repair service right away!
Step 2: Wait 24-72 Hours
After we receive your photos, our team of professional restorers and digital artists will decide the best ways to complete your photo repair. This process will take around 24 to 72 hours, but this short waiting period will fly by in no time! The result is well worth the wait – just look at our glowing 5-star reviews!
Step 3: Receive Your Restorations
When we’re done with your order, you just have to check your email for high-resolution digital copies of your newly-restored photographs.
You also have the option for delivery of your photo prints. We can print and deliver an order to different areas all over America. While this will take a little more time, it’s a convenient service that gets printed photos right to your home!