Camera Focus

Focus is, in itself, is a fundamental element to photography, and while focusing for still photography is one of the first steps you learned as a new photographer, the art of finding and keeping focus goes far beyond those initial lessons. Understanding how focus works in partnership with your aperture, focal length, and depth of field will allow focusing to become second nature for you. For those of you who also shoot video, being able to hold focus throughout moving scenes can make a night and day difference in your work, as explained in the following video:

Here are few things to remember:

  • A deeper depth of field will be much easier to hold focus when you are shooting moving subjects. A deep depth of field means that more of the frame is in and will stay in focus, this allows for subjects to be moving about without necessarily moving out of focus. Keep this in mind when choosing what lens you will be shooting as a longer focal length will take away some depth of field. Don’t forget that you can also adjust your depth of field by changing your aperture.
  • If you know your subject will be moving in the shot, take a second and get your camera focused before they start moving, it will help you use your finger as a follow focus. Once everything is lined up, place your pointer finger on the top center of your lens and hold it there. Use your middle finger and thumb to rotate the focus ring back and forth to adjust your focus as your subject moves.
lens focusing techniques

Focusing technique to track motion

  • Use a viewfinder or  monitor. Those glossy LCD screens on the backs of our DSLR’s are rather sleek looking, but don’t forget about your viewfinder. Accessories such as the Zacuto X-Finder, the Cinevate Cyclops, or the Zacuto EVF Monitor really adds to the usability of your camera when you want to manually hold focus.  They are capable of magnifying the frame and blocking out the sun, both of which will make focusing easier.

One last note for those that shoot on Canon lenses, when holding focus of a moving subject rotate your focus ring to the left as the subject moves further away and rotate to the right when your subject moves closer to the camera.

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

One response to “Camera Focus”

  1. Santosh Vijayan says:

    I do highly recommend this information for the ultimate improvement of focusing.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever