Even with all the advancements being made in digital technology, getting tack sharp images using your DSLR’s auto-focus feature isn’t always easy to do. A lot of things can trip up an auto-focus and even when you think your edges are crisp, upon closer inspection, it might turn out that they are still slightly off focus. Here, you can learn a few tips from a pro, as Phil Steele shares his knowledge in a short video tutorial. Have a look:
When the auto-focus feature is struggling, in some situations you can correct it by focusing on a different object, locking your focus, then moving it back to the original subject. For example, in the photograph below Steele is trying to photograph the tuning knobs on the guitar. Because there isn’t enough contrast on the edges for the auto focus to work properly, he has shifted his composition slightly to the left where auto focus works easily on the head stock and strings.
Once his focus is correct on the headstock, Steele switches off the AF, which effectively locks the focus in place. He then goes back to original composition to take his photograph. This is a quick fix that allows him to use the auto-focus and ensure that the tuners will stay in focus.
Another quick tip that will help you find focus is utilizing the zoom tool on your LCD screen in live view mode. Line up your composition, then zoom in your LCD viewfinder, not the lens, to get a magnified look at what you are focusing on. You can then fine tune your focus, zoom out, and snap your photo.
Above, you can see Steele using this method as he magnifies his viewfinder, giving him a close look at the sharpness of the guitars edges.
For further training: Phil Steele’s Event Photography Course
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