Whether you’re a beginner in photography or just starting out as a professional, the technical aspects of the craft can be challenging and almost overwhelming to learn. One common problem is shutter release errors, which can ruin a great shot. This happens when you accidentally press the shutter button or move the camera while taking a picture, resulting in a blurry image. These errors can be super frustrating, whether they’re caused by camera glitches, user mistakes, or environmental factors.

In this post, we break down shutter release errors and offer practical tips to help you take perfect shots every time. By understanding the causes and learning how to prevent them, you can improve your skills and capture more special moments. Here are the causes and solutions:

1. Update Your Camera’s Firmware

Firmware is like the software that runs your camera’s hardware. Just like any software, it can have bugs or need updates to fix issues like shutter release errors. Here’s how to update your camera’s firmware:

  • Check the current firmware version: Turn on your camera, go to settings, and look for the “Firmware Version” option.
  • Download the latest firmware: Visit the manufacturer’s website (like Canon, Nikon, or Sony), find the firmware updates section, and download the latest version for your camera model.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to update your camera’s firmware: This usually involves copying the firmware file to a memory card, inserting the card into your camera and following on-screen prompts to complete the update.

Firmware updates require quite a lot of data. If you’re in a country with unreliable internet like Nigeria, consider using night browsing data plans, but if you’re in countries like the United Kingdom or America you can access public Wi-Fi services in urban areas like cafes or libraries. If you’re in a rural area, plan your update for when you visit a city or ask a friend with better internet access to help.

2. Ensure Proper Battery Power and Usage

Low battery power can cause shutter release errors. This is how to keep your camera’s battery in good condition:

  • Check Battery Health: Regularly inspect your camera battery for wear and tear. Replace batteries that don’t hold charge well or show physical damage.
  • Use Authentic Batteries: Use batteries recommended by your camera’s manufacturer. Avoid third-party batteries that might cause reliability issues.
  • Proper Charging Habits: Always charge your batteries using the official charger. Avoid overcharging by unplugging once fully charged.
  • Spare Batteries: Carry spare batteries, especially when shooting in remote locations where recharging might not be possible.

For example, if you’re photographing a traditional wedding in a remote village in Enugu State, Nigeria, you should have fully charged batteries and spare ones to keep shooting without interruption. Consider charging your batteries ahead of time and using a power bank as a backup, especially in areas with frequent power outages.

3. Clean the Shutter Button and Camera Sensors

Have you tried taking a picture in a dusty environment? If you’re familiar with Nigeria, you’ll know about Yankari National Park. A wildlife reserve filled with antelopes, elephants, and hippopotamuses etc. It’s also a very dusty environment. So, if you’re trying to capture a photo of the elephants at their watering hole, the dust can quickly affect your camera’s shutter button and sensors.

Apart from a dusty environment, dust and dirt can accumulate on your camera’s shutter button and sensors over time, leading to shutter release errors. Therefore, cleaning these components regularly can significantly improve your camera’s performance. Practical steps to get this done are:

  • Turn Off Your Camera: Always ensure your camera is turned off before you start cleaning.
  • Use a Soft Brush: Gently brush off any loose dust or dirt from the shutter button and sensors.
  • Cleaning Solution: Use a microfiber cloth with a small amount of camera safe cleaning solution to wipe the shutter button gently to remove any stubborn dirt.

A microfiber cloth is made out of soft fabric, so it is the best material to use for cameras or screens. However, if you don’t have one, you can use any soft material like a handkerchief. You can find cleaning solutions in stores at low prices or higher depending on your budget. Popular options are Nikon and Canon lens cleaning solutions.

  • Sensor Cleaning: For the sensors, use a sensor cleaning kit that includes a blower, sensor swabs, and cleaning solution. Blow away loose dust with the blower, then use the swabs and solution to gently clean the sensor surface.

Regularly cleaning your camera as described above can prevent shutter release errors and ensure you don’t miss capturing the majestic scene.

4. Use a Remote Shutter Release or Cable Release for Stability

A remote shutter release is a device that lets you take a photo without touching the camera, helping to avoid camera shake and noise. There are different types; it could be a small box or grip with a button or trigger, a wireless remote control with a shutter release button, or a cable with a release button on the end, connecting to the camera etc.

This type of device is especially useful for long exposure shots or when using a tripod. Since it allows you to trigger the shutter without physically touching the camera, ensuring a steady and sharp image. Practical steps to use one are:

  • Purchase a Compatible Remote or Cable Release: Ensure the remote or cable release is compatible with your camera model.
  • Set Up the Camera: Mount your camera on a tripod for maximum stability.
  • Connect the Remote or Cable Release: Attach the remote or cable release to your camera according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Trigger the Shutter: Use the remote or cable release to take the photo, avoiding any physical contact with the camera that might cause shake.

For example, let’s say you’re in a city like Lagos in Nigeria, capturing the vibrant nightlife at Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge. The long exposure required to capture the light trails of moving cars demands a stable camera setup. By using a remote shutter release, you can minimize any risk of camera shake and achieve a clear, stunning shot of the bustling bridge.

5. Proper Finger Placement on the Shutter Button

One common mistake new photographers make is incorrect finger placement on the shutter button. This can cause blurry images due to unintended camera shake. Here are some tips for proper finger placement:

  • Use the Pad of Your Finger: Instead of using the tip or joint of your finger, use the pad (the fleshy part) to press the shutter button. This gives you better control and minimizes movement.
  • Gentle Pressure: Apply gentle, steady pressure rather than a quick jab. Think of it like squeezing a trigger instead of pushing a button.
  • Brace Your Hands: Keep your elbows close to your body to create a stable platform. This reduces the chance of shaking.                                             

Let’s use another scene in Lagos. So imagine you’re at a bustling market, capturing vibrant scenes of traders and buyers. You spot a perfect moment: a woman in colorful attire bargaining with a fish seller.

To avoid ruining this shot due to camera shake, you’ll have to use the following finger placement technique:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
  • Hold the camera with your right hand while supporting the lens with your left.
  • Use the pad of your index finger to gently press the shutter button while keeping your elbows tucked in.

By following these steps, you reduce the risk of camera shake, ensuring your photo remains sharp and clear.

6. Using a Tripod to Minimize Camera Shake

A tripod is invaluable for photographers, especially with longer exposures or in low light. Here are a few benefits of using a tripod:

Stability: A tripod provides a stable base, allowing you to capture sharp images even with slow shutter speeds.

Consistent Framing: It helps maintain consistent framing for multiple shots, essential for HDR photography which  combines multiple images of different exposures to create a single image with enhanced contrast and color or panoramas which captures a wide-angle view by stitching multiple images to achieve a landscape view.

Hands-Free Operation: You can use a remote shutter release or a timer to eliminate any movement caused by pressing the shutter button.

7. Practice Steady Hand Techniques

Shaky hands during shutter release frequently cause blurry photos, especially in low light or when using telephoto lenses. Practice this techniques to combat this:

Proper Grip: Hold your camera steady by gripping it with your right hand and supporting the lens with your left. This stabilizes the camera and reduces vibrations.

Stance: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to create a stable base. Tuck your elbows into your sides to minimize movement.

Breath Control: Just before taking a shot, take a deep breath and exhale slowly as you gently press the shutter release button.

8. Familiarize With Camera Settings and Modes

Modern cameras offer many settings and shooting modes designed for specific conditions. Without understanding these features, you might encounter exposure problems or miss critical moments, due to shutter release errors. Here’s how to tackle it:

Read the Manual: It sounds basic, but many overlook this valuable resource. Understand what each setting does and experiment with them in different environments.

Practice Mode Selection: Start with basic modes like aperture priority (A or Av) or shutter priority (S or Tv) to control depth of field or motion blur. Gradually advance to manual mode (M) for full creative control.

Customize Settings: Depending on your shooting style, customize settings like ISO sensitivity, white balance, and autofocus modes. This ensures your camera behaves predictably in diverse conditions.

Imagine capturing the sunrise over the famous Niger River in the city of Lokoja, Nigeria, using manual mode, adjusting both aperture and shutter speed to achieve a perfectly balanced exposure.

Still, it’s possible to have the right camera mode, achieve great pictures and end up with poor engagement on social media. If you’re in this category you should read our blog post on why people do not engage certain types of content online.


By implementing these tips, you’ll reduce the risk of camera shake, ensure sharp photos, and gain greater creative control over your shots.

Also, if you’re interested in using your photography skills for content creation you should read our blog post on content creation.

We’d like to know your go-to strategy for handling shutter release errors? Have you used any of the techniques we mentioned to capture a stunning image? Share your experiences and advice in the comments below!