It's Hard to Stay focused

I think every photographer knows the struggle of getting your camera to focus exactly where you want it. There's no worse experience than taking what you think is the greatest picture of all time, only to find that your subject was completely out of focus. While that's okay when you're taking pictures of your dog, if you're working at a wedding, that might be the end of your career! Here's a little trick I learned a little while back that just might help you nail the shots that have been narrowly escaping you.

For today's article, I'll use examples from a graduation shoot I did for a dear friend back in May.


If you don't utilize this tool already, then start today! AF-point selection will rock your world when it comes to keeping your best shots in focus. Depending on your camera, the button will be in different places, but on my Canon 5D Mark II, it's on the top left of the back side of the camera. All you have to do is hit the button and it will show you what AF-point is being used at the moment. The beauty of this is that you have the option to choose whether you want your camera to use automatic selection or use one of the specific focal points!

For this picture, I chose to use a single focus point right by her left eye in order to make sure the portrait would have maximum detail.

For my Canon, all I have to do once I hit the AF-point selection button is scroll left or right using the shutter speed dial and I can choose which focal point I'd like to use. The beauty of this feature is that it shows up through the viewfinder on the 5D Mark II, so I can adjust the AF-point while I'm taking a shot! With this tool, I've been able to really bring out the detail on my subjects' faces in portrait shots and place them in different areas of the shot that I wasn't able to before. Some cameras may not have this, but on the 5D Mark II, I can go to the Menu and set it up so that the red dot for the focal point will be displayed on the picture as I review it! This is extremely helpful because it helps me know very quickly if my picture is in danger of being out of focus or not. Ideally, you want to zoom into the picture 100% of the way in order to check the focus, but sometimes you don't have that luxury! The red dot review tool is a simple way to check very quickly and know if the shot is in the ballpark of where you wanted it.

So, that's the Thursday Trick for today! Make good use of your AF-point selection tool and let us know how it goes for you! You can show us your shots by posting them in the comments below or by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram. Always remember: shooters keep shooting!