Three Tips for Better Autofocus

tilt shift little villageIf you’ve just got yourself a shiny new dSLR, you may have trouble getting sharp photos. You will discover that your camera’s autofocus has a mind of its own and often “misses” the things you want to photograph. In this article I’m going to share with you three tips for better autofocus and sharper photos.

1. Use the Right Focus Mode

Your dSLR (and even your compact camera) gives you a choice of several focus modes. You should choose the mode depending on what you’re taking a photo of.

If you’re shooting a still subject (landscape, portrait, still life and so on), you should enable AF-S (on a Nikon) or One-Shot autofocus on a Canon. When this mode is on, your camera will focus on a subject and it will keep the focus even if you move the camera to recompose the shot.

If you are shooting a moving subject, like a car or a person playing sports, you should select the AF-C (for Nikon where “C” stands for continuous) or Al Servo autofocus. With this mode on, your camera will track the moving subject and keep it in focus.

2. Choose the Right AF Selection Mode

All dSLR cameras have at least two AF selection modes. When you’re talking photos, you need to make sure you are using the correct one – e.g. the mode that lets you focus your camera on your subject.

The first AF mode offers automatic AF point selection meaning that all points are active and the camera will try to focus on an object that is near it. This works for most photos, but if you need to focus on something that is not nearest to one of your AF points, you’ll be in trouble. For example, if you have a bush in the foreground, the camera will focus on the bush and not on your subject. You can fix the problem by selecting a single AF point mode (or manual AF selection). This will let you choose which AF point you want to use, so that you can focus on your subject and not on something else.

3. Compose Your Shot Correctly

And last but not least, make sure that you compose your shot using your AF points. You may stick to any of the AF points (even those that are not in the center). Choose the point that is closest to you or the one that covers the subject and you’ll be on the right track.

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