Capturing sharp photos is a key goal for all types of photography, but achieving precise focus is particularly challenging when shooting wildlife and other fast-moving subjects outdoors.
While there are numerous methods for rehabilitating soft images in post processing, this tutorial is all about nailing, rather than failing, focus in the camera. What you’ll see here are five tips and tricks, with camera settings that will greatly increase your percentage of keepers.
Espen Helland is a pro from the Highlands of Scotland, and in this episode he demonstrates his top five techniques for shooting wildlife with Olympus mirrorless cameras. But his helpful advice is equally appropriate for all sorts of outdoor photography using whatever digital camera you own
Some of the camera modes Helland recommends are those he sets and forgets, using them all the time. There are other settings he switches on and off depending upon the situation.
Helland’s goal is to speed up his process in the field, and the first trick he employs is to limit the number of focus points from which to choose. His default approach is to use a single focus point in the center of the frame. But he configures his camera so there are two or three other options that are immediately accessible if needed. As he says, “If you have loads of custom focus points available it becomes difficult to react quickly.”
Another of Helland’s tips is to set the camera to “remember” the last focus setting used for both vertical and horizontal images, and how to create a “Home” focus point that can be accessed with the quick click of a button. He also explains how to create custom presets for different types of subjects, like birds in flight.
Bottom line: If you want to achieve fast-and-precise focus acquisition, spend 13 minutes watching the video below. Then head over to Helland’s YouTube channel for more great advice.
And take a look at a recent tutorial we posted, with another pro’s approach to capturing razor sharp photos.