Focus your shots more effectively
Aperture tips and more
Mastering the skills of focusing will enable you to select the right balance and focal points for your images. By composing your shot well and focusing on the right depth of field, you can unclutter the background of a picture. Or, by following the tips in this guide, you can show the foreground and background in equal sharpness for landscape photography.
1. Clean up your backgrounds
Shooting at wide apertures of around f/1.8 to f/2.5 will blur distracting backgrounds, such as foliage or furniture, but the distractions are still there.
Instead, try to move around and recompose your shots or reposition your subject so the background behind them is cleaner. Shooting against a curtain or sheet can help here.
2. Ensure maximum depth of field
We know that higher f numbers indicate a narrower aperture, and a deeper depth of field. To set this automatically, choose the A-DEP mode on your SLR‘s mode dial. It automatically sets aperture and focus to ensure there‘s enough depth of field across the image. Handy for shooting landscapes!
3. Stay flexible
Even when shooting huge landscapes, you don‘t always want everything in sharp focus. Arguably the first shot in this bridge sequence is the strongest.
It was captured at f/1.8 for the shallowest depth of field and as a result, everything directly behindthen telescope, including the bridge, is nicely blurred.
You don‘t always need to have everything sharp - a suggestion of the background is often enough. This technique also works if you‘re taking portraits in busy places. The key here is to experiment and adjust depth of field to suit the scene, and mood.
4. Get to know focus modes
There‘s nothing worse than taking an action shot which you‘re sure is in focus, only to see that it‘s soft when viewed on your PC. To capture moving targets, use the AI Servo autofocus mode, which is designed to track objects and continually refocus when the focusing distance keeps changing.
Note that the AF beep won‘t sound even when focus is achieved. Used in conjunction with your SLR‘s high-speed burst mode (3fps on the 400D and 6.5fps on the 40D) you should find your success rate noticeably increases.
5. Eye-to-eye contact
In traditional portraits, the eyes are key. Shoot at a wide aperture of around f/2 and focus on one eye by getting your subject to turn very slightly to one side. Move your AF point if necessary for your close-up composition. This quick and easy trick really works.
6. Move your AF points
Choosing from one of several AF (autofocus) points has a big impact on your photos. In this group portrait photo, shot at f/10 aperture, the focus point was originally left in the middle.
As a result, the central girl is sharp and the girls either side are left slightly out-of-focus. This is a nice effect, but your eye doesn‘t really know where to look.
A more effective technique is to switch the AF point to the right (at 3 o‘clock) to make the girl on the right sharp, leading your eye into the shot.
7. Get an IS lens
IS (image stabilisation) lenses combat camera shake, effectively allowing you to use slower shutter speeds. You‘d normally end up with blurred shots when shooting handheld with a shutter speed of 1/50 sec, but with an IS lens this shot of Tintern Abbey remains sharp.
Without IS at 1/50 sec you‘d really see the difference. Many budget Canon lenses now come with IS as standard, so if a lot of your shots are spoiled by camera shake, it‘s definitely time to get one. Other makers offer versions of IS too.
8. Make the most of macro
Spring is great for macro photography, but striking macro shots require more than simply getting close. Focusing on one part of an object and thinking about creative composition will make a world of difference.
Confident but subtle cr
opping skills are crucial when editing your macro photographs
When shooting, don‘t panic if objects aren‘t kept entirely in the frame - as this example shows, it can actually enhance the subject matter. Cropping photos into a square can benefit this style of image, too.
9. Pre-focus perfection
Pre-focusing is great for motor sports photography because it enables you to focus on a spot ready for your subject to pass without relying on your camera’s AF mode to try and keep up with the action.
Switch to MF (manual focus) on your lens, focus on a spot on the road or track an area you know your subject will drive over, then fire the shutter when it does.
This entry was posted on Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 2:27 pm and is filed under PhotoRadar tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.