How To Get Perfect Focus On Your Camera Every Time

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have you ever taken a blurry photo with

your digital camera if so the chances

are that your photo was simply out of

focus in many cases your camera will do

an excellent job automatically deciding

where to focus but there are also times

when it fails and your photos end up

lured so if you want to take tack sharp

stunning photos every time it's

important that you know how to set the

focus yourself my name is Mark Hemmings

and I'm an internationally recognized

photographer and photography instructor

and in this video I will show you how to

correctly set the focus on your digital

camera so you never take a blurry photo

again the first thing you need to know

is that there are three main focus modes

on your digital camera single-shot

autofocus is for still scenes where your

subject is not moving such as landscapes

architecture and portraiture also

continuous autofocus is for

photographing moving subjects like

sports and other dynamic situations

where your subject is not still and

manual focus is often used for still

life close-up macro photography and when

the autofocus options mentioned above

fail to work properly depending on your

camera manufacturer make and model you

might have other focusing modes

available but these are the three main

modes that you will use for almost all

of your photos okay let's go through

each one of them so that you know when

and how to use them you'll use

single-shot autofocus to get perfect

focus in most photography situations let

me show you how it works okay

I want to photograph this beautiful

flower in this park because there is no

movement in this scene it's best to use

single-shot autofocus most all cameras

are already on single shot by default

but if for some reason yours is not I

like to give you a quick demo okay to

activate this mode on this Fujifilm

mirrorless camera I switch the focus

function button to s which stands for

single shot autofocus it's possible that

your camera are

could have a different way to turn on

single shot autofocus there's probably a

button or dial somewhere on the body of

your camera or on your camera's lens

your switch will usually list AF s or s

for single shot autofocus AF C or C for

continuous autofocus and and that for M

for manual focus

select AF s or s for now now when I

initiate taking a picture my camera

focuses on whatever is at the center of

the composition as indicated by the

small green rectangle in the middle of

the screen and when I take the photo I

get a perfectly sharp image but what if

you don't want to have your subject in

the center of the frame I still want to

focus on that beautiful flower except I

want to position it slightly to the side

of the frame for the purpose of my

composition following the rule of thirds

to achieve this we'll use a technique

called focus and recompose first aim

your camera at the subject so it's in

the middle of the frame which would be

the flower press your shutter button

halfway down to lock your focus and

while keeping the button halfway pressed

compose the shot as you want it to look

the focus will remain on your subject

even if it's not in the center of the

image anymore press the shutter button

fully to take the photo and when we take

the photo the flower is still perfectly

in focus one thing to keep in mind if

the subject is moved toward you or away

from you while the shutter button is

halfway pressed down or if your camera

moves toward or away from your subject

your subject will not be in focus

anymore that's because by pressing the

shutter button halfway down you are

locking the focal distance you're

telling the camera this is the exact

distance to our subject and that's where

it should focus if we change the

distance the photo won't have focus

sharpness anymore here's an example of

what I mean if I first lock in the focus

by pressing

shutter halfway down then I moved my

camera just a bit closer to the flower

the flower is not in focus anymore

let's look at the two photos side by

side on the left you see the original

shot on the right we have a shot where I

moved just a little bit closer to the

subject and it is clearly out of focus

so the first shot is so much better so

be careful not to change the distance to

your subject as you are recomposing you

can get even more control of where your

camera focuses by using the focus area

feature by default your camera will

focus on whatever is at the center of

the image

using the focus area feature you can

tell your camera what part of your

picture should be in focus right now I

want to photograph this beautiful

Mexican street scene with cactus plants

and festive mannequins let's take a look

at how I focus my camera on either the

mannequins or the cacti by using the

focus area feature on this Fujifilm

camera I'm pressing the function button

again and then navigating to the focus

area options I'm now offered many

different choices one of them being

what's sometimes called the wide option

this means that the camera will try to

decide what to focus on based on the

entire scene if we select this option it

gives the camera the ability to focus on

whatever is in the composition which may

not always be the best idea for example

in this case it decided on its own to

focus on the cactus plants which may be

not exactly what I wanted if I wanted to

focus on the manikins actually I suggest

that whenever you have a static

non-moving subject you use either the

center focus area as we've done so far

with the focus and recompose technique

or the flexible spot option now it's

called the flexible spot because you can

tell your camera exactly where to focus

if we decide to focus only on the

cactus plants in the foreground we tell

the camera to focus there which your

camera's arrow keys or joystick who will

take you we take the image and the

cactus plants are perfectly sharp

whereas if we want to focus only on the


in the background we can also do that

once again we set the focus by pressing

the arrow keys or moving the joystick

left right up down to choose our desired

focus area with that focus area

rectangle illuminated we are exactly

focusing on what we want and we can take

a successful photo if we look at both

images side by side they look very

different depending on where we focused

for example the first image the cactus

plants are focused sharply and the

mannequins have a lovely background blur

with the second shot the opposite is

happening where the mannequins are sharp

but the cactus have a nice smooth

out-of-focus look so if you want to have

full control over where your camera

focuses be sure to use flexible spot

focus area mode or you can also use the

focus and recompose technique I showed

you earlier you can go with whatever

technique you feel is easier to use give

each of them a try and stick with the

one that you like the most

okay so these techniques are great for

static shots but how do you focus when

your subject is moving if that's the

case your best bet is what is called

continuous autofocus we're now at this

wonderful Mexican Street and I want to

photograph classic colorful vehicles

that are moving toward me I simply won't

have the time to focus on them first

with single-shot auto focus and then

take the photo

so I'll instead choose continuous

autofocus setting your camera to

continuous autofocus is quite simple

actually but on your camera it may look

slightly different than mine on this

Fujifilm camera and many other makes and

models the focus modes are switch on the

body of the camera your switch may be on

your lens or

possibly accessed digitally within your

rear LCD screen after you press your

function or menu button I'm switching

from the previous mode which was

single-shot to continuous mode which is

signified by the letter C some cameras

will use the three letters AFC which is

the same thing within the continuous

autofocus mode you can still tell the

camera if you want to choose spot auto

focusing where you choose the initial

focus location or centered where the

camera will choose a focus point

anywhere within the center area of your

frame or wide where the camera can

choose to focus on any object within the

entire picture space because I will be

photographing a car coming toward me

from a certain location I will be using

spot as my initial focus mode so I can

initially focus on the car at the

distance and then it'll track all the

way toward me and I'll show you how that


one more point because I want to show

you how effective this mode is for

moving subjects while setting the camera

to continuous shooting mode which is

also sometimes called rapid-fire or

sports mode this will tell the camera to

take many consecutive photos

back-to-back without the need of me

continually pressing the shutter button

okay so let's begin by doing a demo I'm

gonna wait until a classic green San

Miguel de n de taxi comes toward me now

let's see if this camera can actually

track the vehicle coming toward me all

the way okay beautiful so I was able to

get the the wonderful green taxis of

sudden Miguel and the tracking looks

good let me put these images up on

screen so you can see now when we flip

through the pictures what we can see is

that the taxi is good and sharp and the

background has a slight blur and that

shows me that it's successful the camera

was indeed able to track the

distance between the camera and the

vehicle even though the vehicle was

moving toward me okay

so that's a little bit how autofocus

continuous works it's amazing for sports

photography in any situation where

vehicles or any object is coming toward

your camera you may be wondering why

don't we use continuous autofocus all

the time after all it can track your

subjects when it moves and it can also

find a static subject and it's just so

much more convenient not to switch

between focus modes all the time well

there are two reasons not to use

continuous autofocus all the time

number one is saving battery life it

takes so much camera battery and

processing power to use continuous

tracking the other reason for not using

continuous autofocus all the time is

performance although continuous

autofocus is amazingly smart at

realizing where your subject is it's

just not as good at setting focus for

static subjects as single-shot autofocus

by using single-shot autofocus for

static subjects you'll simply get better

results your photos will be sharper but

if you want to have perfect focus on

moving subjects you should go with

continuous autofocus while single-shot

autofocus and continuous autofocus are

great for almost all photography

scenarios sometimes they are not enough

that's when you need to switch to manual

focus to get a perfectly sharp image so

what are the scenarios when you'd switch

to manual mode for one it could be that

the autofocus mode just doesn't work

because there is not enough contrast in

the scene for example when you want to

photograph a wall or a desk surface also

manual focus is the preferred focus mode

for taking macro photos or it could be

that maybe you want to take a perfect

image and have the time to play around

with your manual focus to get the exact

photo that you want it could be a

beautiful low-light cityscape or apposed

portrait in studio conditions manual

focus could work better in these cases

as well in my case I want to photograph

this beautiful yellow

and I have a really nice trim on the

upper section of the wall where we're

going to have this beautiful dark

silhouette of leaves now here's the

problem the wall has no texture and no

features you can see I'm going to put an

example up on the screen right now it's

beautiful yellow but there's nothing

from my camera to focus on let me give

you a demo here so I have my camera in

autofocus mode and I'm going to attempt

to take the picture in autofocus now

what I hear is my autofocus motor is

sort of searching or hunting for focus

but it doesn't see anything that's why

it's struggling and it's really not

locking on to anything of any any

contrast so it doesn't take the picture

now it's true that I have a little trim

of of leaves at the top but because I'm

in centered focus mode there's really

nothing to focus on this is where manual

focus is going to come in so well

because I can clearly define well do I

want those little trims of leaves to

have sharp focus or do I want them

blurry to sort of pretend that they're

shadows there's so much fine tune

creative control when you're dealing

with manual focus okay so let's see what

happens when I switch to manual focus

mode and on this Fuji camera it's a

little switch on the body itself but as

I said before you may access it on your

lens or within your back LCD screen

depending on your camera making model

okay so now in manual focus mode I'm

actually going to rotate my manual focus

ring that's on the end of my lens and I

have the exact scenario that I want I

want the leaves to be crisp for this

picture now I want to take one more

picture where the leaves are not crisp

but they are sort of out of focus to

pretend that they are

deep shadows so I'm going to turn my

focus ring and I got the picture so I

have two versions and this is only

possible really quickly at least by

using manual focus mode now there's so

much more I'd like to tell you about

digital photography and while I didn't

hold anything back

there's only so much I could share with

you in such a short video and that's why

I've recorded an entire video course

about taking incredible photos with your

digital camera and in case you rely

entirely on your camera's auto settings

this course will let you finally take

your camera off of the auto mode so if

you'd like to find out more about my

digital photography course you'll find

more information right under this video

so take a look at my full digital

photography course and I hope to see you