How often have you captured what you thought was a great photo, only to view it on the computer and discover it’s not sharp? If you’re like the rest of us, the answer is “more than one or twice.”
The tutorial below explains three pro tips for nailing focus in the camera. It’s all about choosing the proper settings for the task at hand and employing a few straightforward techniques. After watching this 11-miniute lesson you may still have problems to resolve, but precise focus won’t be one of them.
Instructor Mike Smith is a professional photographer/videographer based in the UK, who captures most of his superb imagery in the great outdoors. The good news is that the advice he provides works equally well when shooting landscapes, sports, portraits, and just about everything else.
Smith begins with this reassuring claim: “Today I’m going to show you how I set up my camera to be a focusing machine.” He also demonstrates how to determine the most appropriate point of focus for different types of subjects, and he discusses several other important considerations.
The lesson begins by explaining how to set up a camera for Back Button Focus. He says, “This is a revolutionary method for obtaining sharp results, and once you get used to it you’ll be surprised at how well it works.” If you’re unfamiliar with this technique, it works by removing the focusing task from the shutter button and assigns it to a button within easy reach on the back of your camera.
Once the simple setup is complete, you’ll learn how Smith uses Back Button Focus differently depending upon whether he’s shooting landscapes, portraits, or sports. As you’ll see, one method is to focus on his primary subject and reframe the scene to achieve the exact composition he wants.
Smith moves on to an important discussion of Focus-Area options. He explains, for example, that when Wide-Area is selected, “Your camera will tend to focus on the thing that’s closest to the camera, unless you’ve got Eye-AF turned on or there’s another prominent object elsewhere in the frame.”
The lesson also covers the variety of focusing modes offered by most modern cameras, explains how they work, and reviews when one is more effective than others based upon the specific task at hand. You’ll also learn how to set up a dedicated button for manual focus, and why the f/stop in use factors into all of the foregoing.
There’s much more to learn on Smith’s popular YouTube channel, so pay a visit and see what he has to offer. We also think you’ll enjoy the tutorial we posted from another pro recently, explaining how to create a captivating photography style of your own for capturing images that stand out from the crowd.