One thing that I always strive for in my photographs is how to take sharp images. In my opinion, this is one of the more difficult tasks to nail down when learning how to use your dSLR. But like all other photography techniques, practice using your camera the right way will help you achieve a focused photograph.

When I shared my formula for the perfect picture, I briefly touched on the subject of focusing. Today we are going to expand on focusing by discussing 3 techniques for dSLRs.

3 focusing techniques for dslrs

Focusing Technique #1: Auto Focusing Your dSLR

Auto Focusing– On most dSLRs, you have the option of selecting a single focal point or letting the camera select multiple focal points. Personally, I use a single focal point. This is a good choice when taking pictures of people. As a general rule, you want to make sure your subject’s eyes are in focus. You want to make sure that the single focal point is placed over the subject’s eye. This can be difficult when shooting wide open. In that case, you want to make sure that the eye closest to you is in focus.

focusing techniques

When you let the camera pick multiple focal points, you run the risk of it not picking a subject’s eye. To see which points have been selected, press the shutter button halfway down. The selected focal points will light up in the view finder. If you don’t like them, press it again and the camera will pick a new set for you.

Focusing Technique #2 Focus Then Recompose

Focus then Recompose – I have to admit that I have only used this technique a handful of times. When using this technique, you must first get out of auto focus area mode to single point AF {read your manual if you are unsure how to do this}. Next, set the focus on where you want it to be. Again, remember the rule about eyes. Then, focus and recompose. To do this, place the area of your photo that you wish to be the main focus under the center focal point. Press the shutter button half-way down to local your focus. Now for the tricky part? Very carefully, recompose the shot to the composition you’d like the photo to have without moving the plane of focus.

Focusing Technique #3: Back Button Focusing

Back Button Focusing – This has become my new favorite focusing method by far! When using the back button focusing, you are disabling the shutter button from focusing. All your shutter button will do is release the shutter. Instead, you will use the button on the back of your camera labeled “AF-ON” to do your focusing.  When you press the “AF-ON” button,  you are locking your focal point. Also, you don’t have to recompose and focus when you press the shutter button. Back button focusing is also great for capturing action. If you can predict where the action is, you can set your focal point and lock it in place. When the action gets to your focal point, you are all ready to shoot!

Back Button Focusing

Focusing Technique #1: Point and Shoot

Here’s a little trick for my point and shoot friends! I hear a lot that people feel held back with their Point and Shoots because you can’t control your settings. But did you know you can trick your camera? When you press the shutter half way, the camera will find the focal point and calculate all the settings. Normally, you will hear a beep. If you want your camera to soak up a little more light, have it focus on something dark. Then move the camera onto your subject. It will take the settings based on the dark subject and apply it to your lighter subject!

Focusing Technique #2: Point and Shoot

Another trick for a clearer picture? Lower your megapixels {consult your manual}. By lowering the number of megapixels you use to take the photo will help  you achieve a clearer photo. In most cases, a Point and Shoot doesn’t have a good sensor. The higher the megapixels used, the more noise you may have in your photo. Try using 5 MP which is what is needed for a 4×6 print.

Your challenge this week is to nail down your focus by using any of the above techniques. Remember, practice makes perfect!

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