Photography forum: Photography 101: Focus

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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Sep 21, 2014 4:02 PM CST
All digital cameras that have an Auto Mode have Auto Focus (AF). You press the shutter release half way down and the camera focuses on the subject then press the shutter release the rest of the way to take the picture. Auto Focus is an amazing step up from film cameras because it allows you to shoot one handed and not have to use your other hand to focus with.

The downside to AF is that sometimes it just won't focus on subject you want. This usually occurs when you are shooting something up close and what you want to shoot is surrounded by a bunch of other stuff like flowers and leaves and the camera seems to like the background better.

One way to get around this is to isolate your subject by holding your hand or putting a piece of paper behind your subject. Press the shutter release half way down and let it focus on your subject. Once you have the proper focus, without letting go of the shutter release, remove your hand or paper and take the picture.

Thumb of 2014-09-21/Xeramtheum/e59140 Thumb of 2014-09-21/Xeramtheum/6f892a Thumb of 2014-09-21/Xeramtheum/56da01

There are other ways to help your camera focus on what you want to shoot using various focus modes.

My Sony Cybershot, DSC H5 has 4 modes:

Multipoint - used for pictures with a lot of points of interest.

Center - used for shooting a specific area or subject.

Flexible Spot - allows you to focus in specific areas.

Manual - you do the focusing.

Find in your manual the focus modes and where to access them on your camera and reply to this thread with the kind of camera you have and list the different modes of focus for your specific camera.

Spend the week with your camera manual and camera and learn how to use the different focus modes and get to a point you don't have to consult the manual on how to access them and can readily switch focus modes specific to what you are shooting. Try shooting the same subject using all the modes and see if there is any difference.
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[Last edited by Xeramtheum - Sep 21, 2014 5:38 PM (+)]
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Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
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CDsSister
Sep 21, 2014 4:17 PM CST
Very helpful. Starring this one too. Thumbs up
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Sep 21, 2014 5:26 PM CST
I often struggle with my camera 'not getting' what I want to focus on, and will certainly give this a whirl. Great pointer.
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
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Xeramtheum
Sep 21, 2014 5:36 PM CST
Forcing focus like that definitely saves a lot of aggravation.

I should point out however, if you use paper, you want something that will have a good contrast against your subject. Using white paper for a white flower tends to confuse the camera even more.
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Sep 21, 2014 5:45 PM CST
I like your idea of using your other hand - readily available!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Seedfork
Sep 22, 2014 11:55 AM CST
Great tip, as many times as I have run into that problem, I never thought of that solution.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Sep 22, 2014 12:42 PM CST
What a great piece of information. Going out to try the hand method of focusing. Be back.
Name: Mother Raphaela
Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery NY (Zone 4b)
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MotherRaphaela
Sep 23, 2014 6:37 PM CST
Xeramtheum said:
One way to get around this is to isolate your subject by holding your hand or putting a piece of paper behind your subject. Press the shutter release half way down and let it focus on your subject. Once you have the proper focus, without letting go of the shutter release, remove your hand or paper and take the picture.

Find in your manual the focus modes and where to access them on your camera and reply to this thread with the kind of camera you have and list the different modes of focus for your specific camera.

Spend the week with your camera manual and camera and learn how to use the different focus modes and get to a point you don't have to consult the manual on how to access them and can readily switch focus modes specific to what you are shooting. Try shooting the same subject using all the modes and see if there is any difference.

OK this is an assignment I can handle. Thank you! MR

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