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4 Days to Sharper Photos: Getting Sharper Photos In Camera

As photographers, it is a given that we want sharper photos straight from the camera.  But we don’t always know exactly what to do to get those sharper photos.  This short series will help you get sharper photos from the moment you press the shutter button--no waiting to try and fix it later in Lightroom!

Focus in the Right Place

The first place our eye almost always looks in a photograph is the eye. Eyes are drawn to eyes.  If the eyes aren’t sharp in our photo or the focus falls on something different than the eyes, the photograph just isn’t as appealing.

So, if you are photographing a person, 99% of the time you should focus on the eyes.

Your Camera and Focus

Camera’s are great at a lot of things.  Their capabilities have continuously improved over the last decades.  But the one thing your camera can’t do is read your mind!

Your camera can guess at what you are trying to focus on but that is all it can do--guess! Your camera might get it right sometimes, too.  But what if it doesn’t on that ONE perfect shot that you got at your session or that captured of your child.

FOCUS CAN’T BE FIXED IN LIGHTROOM.  Or Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  FOCUS CAN’T BE FIXED.  You have to get this right the first time.

Choose Your Focus

This is why I recommend choosing your focus point.  In order to do this, you will need to change your focus mode to Single-Servo (for still subjects) or Continuous-Servo (for moving subjects) Auto-Focus on Nikon and One Shot Auto-Focus on Canon.

Next, you will need to change your AF-Area Mode to Single-Point Auto-Focus.  This will allow you to select the point you want in focus.

You will need to read through your camera manual to learn how to change these settings and exactly what your camera calls each of these.

Auto-Focus NOT Manual Focus

One last point.  Many people get confused when photographers preach the wonders of shooting in manual mode.  I love manual mode.

BUT, shooting in manual DOES NOT mean that I am manual focusing each shot.  Manual mode means that I am choosing my aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  It does not mean that I am using manual focus.

I use auto-focus for 95% of my photos.  The only time I change to manual focus is when the lighting conditions are such that my camera has a really difficult time focusing on my subject (low light situations or extreme backlight situations) or when I am shooting macro shots!


For the Other Posts in This Series:

4 Days to Sharper Photos: Getting Sharper Photos In Camera

4 Days to Sharper Photos: Depth of Field and Shutter Speed

4 Days to Sharper Photos: Good Light and Good Lenses

4 Days to Sharper Photos: Sharpening in Lightroom


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