Hey Y'all! How's your week going? This week I want to work on your Focus! This topic I came about while listening to my favorite Podcast the Digital Story by Derick Story. The "Auto Focus Mental Block" episode he goes into a little more detail than I'm going to go into and if you're not listening to this podcast you should start, there are over 900 podcast that you can listen to and learn from. Anyway back to the topic of the day Focusing. For me focusing was never a thought until the digital age of camera's came along. Starting my photography in the mid 70's everything was manual. From exposure to Focusing and until I got into the digital age I never had to think about what focusing mode I was in because there was only one "Manual". You turned the ring on your lens until things looked sharp. Simple enough. But with Focusing modes came a lot of decision making and what modes or how to focus became a thing. There are a few things to consider when focusing a modern camera. First where in the frame are you going to Focus and then how much are you going to let the camera make the decisions on how to focus.
Focus Area, This is where in the frame do you want to focus. In the old days it was the middle of the frame you had a split focusing ring that you got sharp to do this with. But now with the modern technology you can put that spot anywhere. Depending on the make and model of your camera you have focusing spots that your camera looks at to focus . You can choose one spot or many or groups of spots to focus on. You can even move that spot around in the frame as you shoot by moving a joy stick or some sort or pad. On some camera's you can move just by touching the back screen where you want to focus and it does it for you. This is great technology and can be much more complicated than I just explained. But Focus area is basically where do you want to focus.
Focus Mode, This is how do you want to focus on the area that you picked. Most of us have this set to Single focus mode just because its easier than trying to figure out how to change to another mode. LOL When you depress the button (Shutter or Back button) your camera focuses one time you may hear a beep and done. Usually its shown on your camera as AF-S for auto focus single mode. This mode is great for stationary subjects and usually produces the sharpest shot. Or at least it use too. The newer camera's now focus so well it really doesn't matter what mode your in you will have a sharp photo. AF-C or Auto Focus Continuous Mode means that as long as you have the button depresses (shutter or back button) your camera will search for focus. This mode is great for moving subjects as your camera will keep focusing as your subject moves. And of course there is AF-M for auto focus manual. Your camera can still focus manually if you choose to and it is best for hard to focus things like Macro or a very busy frame and you want to pick out what is in focus. Most modern cameras have a focus peaking ability that works with manual focus mode and will highlight what is in focus with a particular color to let you know it is in focus. These are the basic modes but there is much more to Focusing.
With newer camera's there are all sorts of advanced focusing modes that you can set for your camera . There is Face and Eye detection when turned on this will detect faces and eyes on the faces to make sure they are tack sharp. They even have animal face and eye detection that when turned on will find the eye or face of animals so when you take the photo of your pet the eyes are always tack sharp. They even have modes that you can register a face. Lets say your shooting a wedding and you want to make sure the brides face is always in focus you register her face and then any group photos that she is in the camera will find her face and make sure it is in focus. There are modes where you can lock into subjects like sports athletes and lock into them while they are running at you and you keep focus while they are coming at you shooting mutable frames. Camera's are crazy with all of the things that they can do to help us get into focus.
As you can see there is lots of choices to make when focusing and that may be part of the reason we keep our camera's on single focusing mode and one spot or center spot area. It's too hard to choose and hard to find on our cameras to make a change if we wanted too. Thats why learning your camera and what it can do and how to change quickly between settings is important when taking photo's. I would suggest practicing with your camera on changing the settings. You can do this on the couch of your living room while watching TV. Practice changing between modes and area's on your camera this will make you more proficient when out taking photo's and less fumbling around trying to get the shot. For me I keep my settings pretty simple but can change quickly if I have to. I am usually in AF-C (continuous mode) and my area for my camera is Wide which means the camera picks the point of focus. But I can always over ride quickly if its choosing something that I don't want to focus on. And when I'm doing slow work like studio I put on single and move my spot around or if I'm doing portraits I have eye auto detect on. My advice is to practice with your settings and you will find the settings that you use the most and helps your photography the best. So until next week get into Focus and get outside and shoot.