There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a photos sharpness or lack of it. Sharpness is important especially when printing larger images as this will magnify any deficiencies. There are many programs out there that can clarify and sharpen photographs, even reduce camera shake. But, as in all areas of photography, if you can get it right when taking the picture, the results will be much better. Are there any techniques that can be done in the field that will help make one's images sharper, even before the post processing stage. The answer is yes!
Notice these photos of a corner of a picture frame. I used an 18-200mm lens zoomed out all the way as I thought this would exaggerate any shake. Then I made approximately 100% crops of a portion of the photo. The first photo was shot at f8 to bring the shutter speed down to 1/4 second. The following four photos were shot at f22 for a 1 second shutter speed, settings fairly common in landscape photography. With these settings it is definitely possible to have a blurry image.
Picture #1- handheld, vibration reduction on lens turned on f8 1/4 second
So what have we learned? I was surprised at how bad the quality was when putting the camera on a tripod as you would think this would automatically make the picture better. For me, the biggest improvement was seen using a remote shutter release. Using the timer on your camera and setting the shutter to release a few seconds after you press the button would also help. Hope you find this informative!