May 26, 2010

Photography Tips: Focus Lock

Alright, all you with your camera previously on the "green square" - did you try out the ISO?  Flip your camera to "P"?  More about that HERE.  We're moving on today, but still practice with different ISO settings so you can see what it can do for your pictures.

Today I want to touch on something called "Focus Lock".  First grab your camera (still set on P - you can't change anything if you're in full auto) and find the AF button (auto-focus) - it looks like a square with little solid rectangles in it - it's circled in the picture below.  In the picture the arrow points to your wheel where you can scroll through your AF choices.
Your AF is probably set to Automatic Selection.  You want to change that.  Let me tell you something you might not believe:  you are smarter than your camera - you are human, it is not - you know more.  There are still times that I think my camera knows better than me, but I'm working on that.  Anyways, YOU know what you want to be in focus in the picture but your camera doesn't - let's say you want to take a picture of your child off-centered - you know you want the child in focus, but your camera might not focus on them because they are off-centered.  So never let your camera pick your focus point - you can do it!
Push that AF button mentioned before and scroll until the dot in the middle is lit up - that will set your focus point always in the middle.  Test it: when you push your button to take a picture down half-way to focus; when you're looking through the viewfinder, does the red light only light up a dot in the middle? (did you know that to focus a digital camera you push down half-way, let it focus, and then push it all the way to snap the shot?)  That red dot shows you your focus point - and you want it right it in the middle.

Now wait - did you catch on - this means the focus will only be on the middle of your picture.  But pictures look best when the subject is off-center - how's that work?  Use the trick called Focus Lock.  Aim for what you want focused (my little boy's face) - put it right in the middle of the viewfinder - push down half-way to focus on him.  Then while still holding the button down half-way, pan slightly to the right so he is in the left of the frame, then push the button down the rest of the way.  It's called focus lock because you lock the focus on him by pushing down half-way.  Then when you move the camera, it doesn't refocus - it keeps him as the main focus even though he's not centered anymore. 

Does this make any sense?? Go out and try it.  Find an object set away from it's background (like a post across the street from a house).  Take pictures with the object in focus and with the background in focus.  Try to put the object off-centered in your pictures.  Here are the pictures (SOOTC: straight out of the camera) that I took when I was in my class (I was actually practicing manual focus, but that's irrelevant) - I was a beginner at focus lock, just like you, but I did it, and so can you!
Really, let me know if you have questions - I'll try my best to answer them, or I might pass them on to my photography friends who know way more than me...


About Author:

Mandy is a craft blogger who loves to blog and enjoys all things crafty, sewing, and DIY - she feels that if she can do something, you can too, and provides tutorials to help you along the way. She loves being a mom to 4 awesome kiddos and blogs from the Kansas City Area. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or Google +

11 Fabulous Comments:

You are a genius! I totally understood what you were describing. No wonder my food pictures have looked so weird. Certainly it was not my cooking abilities. Thanks so much

Ugghh my whole frame still focuses? Any tips?

Thank you sooo much... I take lots of pics and this is very helpful

Thank you for the tip, I always leave my camera on Auto everything! Can't wait to get home and try this!

Love this lesson I'm goign to be checkin out your otherones. I'm going on a photo walk this weekend!

Great tip! I need to work on that too! : )

Thanx Mandy! I had no idea you could change that! I have had my camera since Christmas and still do not know how to use it!:(

Just got a new camera so I'll be reading the manual for tips...thanks for sharing at PonyTails&FishScales~Party Time Thursday!


I love your photo tips! Keep it up. Maybe someday I'll be as skilled as you...

Now if only I could find the $ for a camera like yours...

This is fabulous! Now only if I could get my focus box to come unlocked out of the top left coner, I'd be in business!
Thanks for the camera tips! Keep them coming!

I love your photography tips! I need so much help in this department! Thanks for linking up to Hoo's got talent!

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