Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sharp focus

I use auto focus a lot of the time on my camera for my usually quick moving subject. That means I let the camera decide what to put in focus. There is usually a little light on your screen that shows you what will be sharp in the picture. Whether you are using a super fantastic, expensive camera or a regular point and shoot, you can control your image results. Here is a tip for getting your pictures focused the way you intended:

The auto focus will usually go to the center of the frame or the distance that is easier to see. Just like it is hard for human eyes to bring something into focus at close range, so it is for a camera lens. The auto focus sensor will take the easiest route every time in that situation, unless you tell it not to do so. 

There is a solution, and it's easy to use, as long as you remember to do so. It's called focus lock. All auto focus cameras focus before the photo is actually taken. Generally, the focusing takes place when you press your camera's shutter release button halfway down. That causes the camera's lens to focus on whatever is in the center of the frame (look for a light to tell you where the focus is) when you begin to press the button. By pressing halfway down, you've locked the focal distance on your subject even if you move the camera, as long as your finger continues to hold the shutter button halfway down. As long as you continue to press the shutter button, the focus stays set at the distance you've "locked in," which is the correct distance to your intended subject. So now, with your finger still holding the button halfway down, reframe the picture in your viewfinder the way that you want it, with the subject placed off center. When you have the composition set the way you like, you take the picture by pressing the rest of the way down on the button.

So here's how you use focus lock. Before you actually take the photograph, place your subject dead center in your viewfinder. Press halfway down on the shutter button, but just halfway down, so the shutter doesn't go off.  Now what you want in focus will be, just like this picture of Emma. What do you like better, Emma's face in focus or the flower?

A great article on this subject is this one: click here.

With many cameras that have manual features, you can also set the point of focus. It is worth the time to get out your camera's manual to figure it out. 

What, am I the only one who reads my camera's users manual?

Pressing half-way down on your shutter button will also allow you to take pictures quicker with less lag time. The reason for this is that you have set the focus and the camera lens doesn't have to work before the picture is actually recorded. Another tip for less shutter lag is to turn on the flash on your camera and take pictures in full light. All the thinking your camera has to do before taking the picture makes you miss the moment you were hoping to record.


Kellie said...

Good tutorial! I like the picture with Emma in focus the best :)

Kari said...

I have a ton of blurry pictures, maybe this will solve the dilemma. the kids move so stinkin' much!!!

Lindsay said...

I like her face in focus. Cute picture!

Leah said...

I like them both in different ways and for different reasons.

Cathy said...

I'm with Leah...I like them both for their own specialness.