Where to Focus for Portrait Photography

Figuring out where to focus when shooting portraits may seem pretty straightforward, but there are a few basic things you should know. In the video below, award-winning photographer David Bergman tells us where to focus and why:

One thing that’s easy to forget when working with a DSLR is that you can tell your camera where to focus. This comes in handy when the place you want to focus (like someone’s eye) is nowhere near the center of the camera.

You can also control whether the sensor focuses primarily on the center or near the center, or tries to keep the entire scene in focus.

Another tip is to focus on the eye closest to the camera, as that’s the eye we humans would naturally focus on in real life.

Focus on the eye nearer to the camera

Focus on the eye that’s closer to the camera.

Of course, this all goes out the window when photographing groups. In those cases, you’ll need a greater depth of field (f/8 to f/10). And if your subject has their eyes covered? Well, as Bergman says, “there are exceptions to every rule.”

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