Thursday, April 11, 2013

Photography Tips To Make Sharper Images (Part 3: Focus Error) by: Martin Bailey



If, when you look at your blurred image, you can see something in the foreground or background that is sharp, chances are you missed the focus. This is a common problem when photographing subjects at close distances and shooting with longer focal lengths at wide apertures such as f/2.8, or even f/5.6 or f/8. Of course, using a smaller aperture will help to get more of the subject sharp. However, assuming you want to have fun with shallow depth-of-!eld, let’s think about what can be done to reduce your focus errors.

First, choose the correct focus mode. If your subject isn’t moving around, select One Shot on a Canon, or Single Servo mode on a Nikon camera. This locks the focus when focus is achieved, and keeps it there as long as you half-press the shutter button, or while you hold the back AF button if you use that to focus (another topic we’ll look at later on in this article).

When using a tripod for landscape and still life photography, I generally use the LiveView feature and zoom in to 5X or 10X on the camera’s LCD and manually adjust the focus. Zooming in LiveView is generally activated using the same buttons that you use to zoom in on a photo during playback. This is a great way to achieve critical focus for still subjects, but it doesn’t make much sense when shooting hand-held or for moving subjects.

Another common focusing problem can occur when you have a relatively wide aperture and use the center focus point, and then recompose your photo. It’s much better to manually select one of your camera’s focus points closest to where you want to focus on your subject. Most of the time, if your subject has eyes, you’ll want to focus on them. There are times when you’ll break this rule, but unless you have a good reason to do so, focusing on the eyes with the closest focus point to them will provide the best results.  

Related Post:
Photography Tips To Make Sharper Images (Part 4: Moving Subjects) by: Martin Bailey
Photography Tips To Make Sharper Images (Part 3: Focus Error) by: Martin Bailey
Photography Tips To Make Sharper Images (Part 2: Subject Movement) by: Martin Bailey
Photography Tips To Make Sharper Images (Part 1: Camera Shake) by: Martin Bailey 

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