As you know, this blog is for photography pros, but also for beginners. There’s something for everyone, and in that context, today another fundamentals tip. Namely: focus accurately, using only one focus area/focus spot.
I can’t tell you how important it is to focus accurately. The camera has no brain. It cannot decide at what distance to make the image sharpest. Only you can.
Go to Program Mode (“P”), or Aperture Mode (“A”), Shutter Mode (“S”/”Tv”), or Manual Mode (“M”). Now set your camera to one focus point.
Aim that at what should be sharp, and take the picture.
So you can now aim that single focus point at anything, including background items. Then, they will be sharp:
But what if the subject is not in the centre, or where there is a focus point?
Then you do this: “focus – recompose – shoot”:
So the secret is to hold the focus while you recompose. Holding the focus means holding your finger on the shutter half way, without either letting go or pressing fully down.
While recomposing, you can swing your camera left, right, up, or down, but obviously not forward or backward, because the “beep” after you focus means you have set a specific focus distance.
And that is especially important when shooting with a prime lens “wide open”, i.e. at a large aperture (a low “f-number”). Like here, in this picture of Mau the Bengal cat:
More pictures are lost due to inaccurate focus than to anything else. And it is surprisingly easy to do it right. So… do it right!