11 Easy Steps To Sharper Photos On Canon 6D

11 easy steps to sharper photos on Canon 6D

The Canon 6D is a still a great camera that I use for my architectural and construction photography work. I have been getting super sharp images with my Canon 6D for years and in this post I will tell you how I do it.

The 11 easy steps to sharper photos on Canon 6D are

  1. Make sure autofocus is on
  2. Decide what do you want in focus?
  3. Select focus points with care
  4. Learn the exposure triangle
  5. Select the correct aperture
  6. Select the correct shutter speed
  7. Select the correct ISO
  8. Shooting hand-held – steady yourself!
  9. Use a tripod
  10. Use the self-timer
  11. Give back-button focus a try

Sounds good? Great. I will explain the 11 points above in detail, which will help you take sharper photos with your Canon 6D, or any other camera come to that. Whilst there are some Canon 6D specific things a lot of the steps I tell you about are plain and simple photographic best practices that I have learned over the years.

Having explained the steps I will tell you exactly how I get super sharp photos every time with my Canon 6D, and then will tell you about some related reading that I think will be of interest to you.

One more thing.

Please remember – whilst I am writing about the Canon 6D these steps can be applied to most cameras, just in different ways.

1 – Make sure autofocus is on

I know it sounds obvious, but this is a good starting point. Turn AF on. I don’t see the need to use manual focus as the camera is much more precise than I am.

Why trust my eyes with all that tech?

2 – What do you want in focus?

This is the key thing. Do you want all the image in focus or just a part of it?

This will determine everything that you do next.

For my architectural photography work I tend to want everything in focus in an image. Only when I want to capture a detail and nightlight it will I blur the background.

3 – Select focus points with care

  • The Canon 6D has 11 autofocus points.
  • The Canon 6D Mk 2 has 45 autofocus points.

And your camera will probably have a lot more than that. But I am happy with 11!

You can either select all the focus points and let the camera do the work, or manually select the focus point or an area of the composition that you want to focus on yourself.

I normally select the focus point myself.

Top tip – for my architectural photography work I tend to focus a third into the scene – this is a great rule of thumb.

4 – Learn the exposure triangle

What has this got to do with sharp focus? Nothing on the face of it, but the settings that you choose to get the correct exposure can impact on the sharpness of the image.

I am talking here about the combination of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. So let’s look at each of these quickly.

5 – Select the correct aperture

The aperture determines the depth of field. If the aperture is fully open you get less depth of field. This is great when you just want a single part of the composition in focus, but does not work if you want all of the composition to be sharp.

If the aperture is fully closed then you will get the maximum depth of field.

Depth of field means the amount of an image that is in focus.

You do however lose quality at the fully open and fully closed ends of the aperture range.

Which is why for my architectural and construction photography I use F8 or F16. The maximum apertures are F4 and F22.

6 – Select the correct shutter speed

You need the shutter speed to be fast enough that there is no movement that blurs the image.

When shooting hand-held the minimum shutter speed should be 1/60th second. I know image stabilisation in bodies and lenses helps with this but for my gear this is the rule I use.

And your shutter speed should be a larger number than the focal length. So if I am taking a photo using my Canon 70-200mm lens at 200mm I want the shutter speed to be 1/250th second minimum.

Or use a tripod. More on that later.

7 – Select the correct ISO

The third part of the exposure triangle. All I want to say here is this.

If you increase the ISO you can use a higher shutter speed (with the same aperture).

When you increase the ISO you increase the chance of getting noise in an image.

What’s noise? Well take a photo at ISO400 ISO and the same photo at ISO1600 and you will see.

We don’t want noise in a photo, but some noise is better than a blurry photo. All day long.

8 – Shooting hand-held – steady yourself!

Stand nice and still. Legs apart, bend the knees slightly, hold the camera with one hand under the body and the other hand holding the grip.

Pull your arms in tight, focus, breathe in, breathe out slowly and gently press the shutter release and take the photo.

9 – Use a tripod

This is what I do for very photo on an architectural and construction shoot. I only shoot hand-held when there isn’t room to place my tripod.

And there are some other clever bits of kit that do the same thing as a tripod such as a Platypod.

A tripod gives a solid base that minimises and movement when taking a photo.

10 – Use the self-timer

I don’t advise this if you are shooting handheld!

I use the in-built self-timer on my Canon 6D. I have used most of the remote releases on the market but always go back to the self-timer.


It is one less bit of kit. It is one less thing to go wrong. And it works for me.

Press the shutter release and 10 seconds later the photo is taken, The 10 seconds gives the camera time to settle down so there should be absolutely no movement.

11 – Give back-button focus a try

Back button focus is a setting that you change in the custom functions.

Back button focus assigns focussing to the AF-On button on the back of the Canon 6D. When you have selected back-button focus pressing the shutter release does not affect focus.

Check out your camera manual for how to do this.

What difference does this make?

I focus first, and that is then locked in and the lens will not move again. Another little thing but they all add up.

How do I get sharper architectural photography and construction photography pictures with my Canon 6D?

As I said I have been using a Canon 6D for years now, and am extremely fortunate to have three great lenses, which are

  • Canon 17-40mm F4L
  • Canon 24-105mm F4L
  • Canon 70-200mm F4L

And a tripod. I have lots of tripods and tripod heads.

OK – that’s the gear – this is what I do

Camera settings

  • F8 or F16
  • ISO100
  • AV Mode
  • Autofocus
  • Back button focus
  • Self-timer set to 10 seconds

Taking the photo

  • Compose the composition with care
  • Manually select a focus point and focus that where I want the sharpest part to be.
  • Focus using the back button focus
  • Press the shutter release to check the exposure
  • Press the shutter release and 10 seconds later the image is taken with the camera perfectly still

Related reading

I have written a number of blog posts about the Canon 6D, just head over to the home page on my website and enter Canon 6D in the search thingy and you will see lots of good stuff about the Canon 6D.

And I would like to draw your attention to my most popular blog post about the Canon 6D updated recently Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2020?

And there is also my gear page where I list all the gear that I use.

And if you want to know more about the exposure triangle which I mentioned earlier check out this blog post The Exposure Triangle: Fully explained for beginners.

Finally you can find out more about my commercial work on my architectural photography work page and my construction photographer page.

Thanks for reading this blog post which I hope you found helpful and informative.

Rick McEvoy Photography

#sharperphotosonCanon6D #canon6D #canoncamera

Rick McEvoy

I am Rick McEvoy, an architectural and construction photographer living and working in the South of England. I create high quality architectural photography and construction photography imagery of the built environment for architects and commercial clients. I do not photograph weddings, families, small people or pets - anything that is alive, moves or might not do as I ask!! I am also the creator of the Photography Explained Podcast, available on all major podcast providers. I have a blog on my website where I write about my work and photography stuff. Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB

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