Back to basics

One thing I notice is that often, even working photographers get focus wrong. So let me go back to basics with you today. Focus basics.

There are two focus “settings”: where to focus and how to focus. Today, where to focus.

In the basic “auto” modes, you let the camera choose. You see all focus areas (all three, or all 9, or all 11, or all 42 – depends on your camera) and when you press the shutter halfway, the camera indicates which ones it uses.

These are the ones that have a close object. So you would get this:

But is that clever? Surely you should choose? Perhaps you want this, instead?

That can only be done if you:

  1. Select one focus point (read your camera manual if you need help doing that)
  2. Aim that focus point at the subject you want to have sharp
  3. Press half way down (you will hear a beep, if you haven’t disabled the beep)
  4. While holding the button half way down, recompose, if you like
  5. Press the shutter all the way down to take the image.

This is how you shoot most of the time. Letting the camera choose where to focus is not a great idea. It does not have a brain, and even if it did, it wouldn’t be your brain.  And no, “more focus points” does not mean “greater depth of field, i.e. more focus”! It merely means “camera gets to choose”.

So go set your camera to one focus point pronto!


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