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Make sure that you have your focus set to the most important part of the photo. For people subjects, choose the eyes as the spot to focus. If your subject is not a person choose the area of your frame that tells the story of your photo.
The camera needs good light in order to grab a good focus. The more light you have the better. Use any light that makes you happy—just make sure that the eyes are well lit on your people subjects (catchlights are a good way to judge this) and that there is enough light avail- able for the AF to grab a good focus.
It takes practice to shoot at open apertures like f/1.8. When first shooting at these apertures, some think their photos are out of focus. The reality is generally that something in the photo is in focus— but it isn’t what you intended. Practice and being specific about where you are focusing will help get your focus right.
Whenever you are shooting at an aperture f/2.0 or wider and close to your subject DON’T lock in your focus and recompose the shot. With such a wide aperture there isn’t any room for error. You’ll get better results by moving your focus point over the closest eye.
ISO doesn’t really affect sharpness, but images shot at high ISOs often don’t look as sharp because of the noise/grain that high ISOs show. Keep your ISO as low as possible without sacrificing a good exposure.
A nicer lens will generally give you sharper photos. Kit lenses (i.e. an 18-55 f/3.5-5.6) are made with inexpensive glass. Exceptions are the Canon 50mm 1.8 and the Nikon 50mm 1.8. Both are sharp lenses with an inexpensive price tag.