Do you sometimes have outdoors photos come out looking weird with your subject out of focus? If there is a lot of subject matter in your composition, your camera lens can’t read your mind concerning what you want it to focus on. That little, roving square in your image finder will pick what IT wants to focus on, that is, if you are using the camera’s automatic setting. This is where you, the photographer, needs to decide what YOU want to focus on and what type of effect you are trying to attain. This can take a little time and effort, but well worth the trouble. You may need to reposition the camera at a higher or lower angle or move it this way or that way to get it to focus on just the right area you want. Sometimes zooming in or out slightly will also do the trick. But once your camera lens does find the ‘sweet spot’ for you, quickly press the shutter button half way down to lock in the focus. (You will need to have the camera’s internal setting set to AF.) If necessary, recompose the picture while still holding the shutter button half way down. Once you are happy with the composition, then you can continue pressing the shutter button all the way down. This is pretty simple, straight forward procedure that you must know and utilize. Let’s look at a couple of photos below to drive home my point about focusing.
This first photo above shows a red bench, along with some flowering tree branches that are positioned closer to me, the photographer. You can see that the red bench is in good focus and that the flowering branches closer to me are out of focus. If all you are interested in is the red bench…fine. Now let’s have a look at the next picture below.
This second, similar photo has the camera lens focused on the flowering branches instead of the red bench. One can see the detail and intense color in the tree blossoms. The rest of the elements in the photo composition are out of focus, imparting muted colors and a softer feel to the picture. The photo is now starting to take on a life of its own. It’s giving me more information and in a most pleasing manner. I see the beautiful, flowering tree branches, and I am also aware of a red bench in the background. How neat is that!
Always think about what you really want to capture in your photos. Focus your intent. There’s always something a little bit more than what meets the eye. Experiment with your creativity! Have fun!
I hope you enjoyed my little lesson on focusing and how to put it to good use to create more interesting photos.