How I Started Getting More Compliments On My Photography

How I Started Getting More Compliments On My Photography

You have to know when to use manual focus to get the perfect results.

This article will help you understand why and when manual focusing is the best thing to do. You will learn tips on how to make the most of it – and how to have more confidence to use it in certain situations instead of auto-focus.

As DSLR owners, we have the best of both worlds between manual and automatic focusing; we have a choice as to how we decide the subject of our photo, and other points that aren’t as important. This is an advantage for you, and having a better understanding of the “other” focusing method will allow you more flexibility and leave you better prepared for a wider array of situations while in the field. But keep in mind, you’re not learning manual focus as a replacement for automatic focus, you’re learning it as a compliment.

So what shooting situations might benefit from the wonders of focusing like our forefathers?

Macro photography

When you’re shooting macro or close-up photography, you’re usually dealing with an extremely thin depth of field. At larger apertures, focusing is extremely important. Manual focus allows you to ensure that the most important part of your subject is crisp.

Low-light situations

As wonderful as autofocus is, it tends to falter a bit in low-light situations, the amount of which usually depends on the lens being used. You’ve undoubtably experienced times where the autofocus struggles to find a focal point, and leaves you with nothing more than a blurry preview through the viewfinder.

Wide-angle shots

When shooting with a wide-angle lens, particularly in landscape photography, your subjects can tend to be a larger objects shown on a smaller scale, such as trees, buildings, and other inanimate objects. In this situation, since they occupy a smaller area of the frame, controlling the focus of the shot on your own will usually yield better results.

Selective focus

There are also times where you may prefer to control your focus for creative reasons. Shooting a model through a frame of trees, for example, or requiring the background of the photo to be in focus while the foreground is not.

While modern autofocus system can usually get this right, manual focus allows you a level of control that’s hard to automate.

Low contrast situations

Autofocus on modern cameras work best when there is a higher level of contrast between the dark and light tones within an image. These systems tend to struggle when contrast in the frame is reduced, such as shooting a light-colored subject against a bright background.

Read Tim Gilbreath’s full article over at Digital Photography School.

Source: Digital Photography School

7 comments

Wow! That was harsh wasn’t it? Useless? I guess it would be for you, since your what they call a “Pro Photographer” you have learned everything there is to learn when photography is a never ending learning adventure! Comments like yours just shows your maturity level and your unwillingness to learn anything else. Go now and be great!

If your eyes are going you’re not getting “lazy”. I have corneal dystrophy and there is no clear focus with my eyes. I’m constantly trying to find solutions to work around my eye disease. Single point focusing and recomposing the shot and now that I’ve learned back button focusing takes away the need for manual focus. Perhaps as one of the comments in the article said, learning to compose better pictures will get you more compliments instead of changing the way you technically take a picture? Please don’t call yourself lazy because you can’t use manual focus.

I would agree with Greg… although a bit harsh. Manual focus is just another way to take a bad picture. Set your camera to a single focus point and then use back button focusing will do away with a need for manual focus. The camera will know exactly what you want in focus automatically doing a better job than your tired old eye can do. Practicing better composition will get you more compliments. Too many people today think they are a photographer and don’t have “the eye”. No article in the world can teach that. You either have it or you don’t.

If you don’t understand DOF then any kind of focus is useless. You can focus a camera using your numbers on the lense and setting your aperture accordingly. Example: set your aperture to f22 your focus to some where around 6-8 feet and adjust your shutter speed or iso accordingly, you will probably need a tripod, but you will be amazed at the shots you get, especially landscapes. Set the camera low to the grass and aim up a little.

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