Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Photographers... here's your camera's center focus point explained!

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We were recently asked, "I read that you always use your center focus point. Do you focus and recompose, or do you use back button focus? I used to manually toggle my focus point but it's too difficult sometimes to move it quickly enough to put the point on where I want to focus" - thanks for your question, let me explain!

Yes, we focus and recompose. 100% of the time our cameras are set to center focus. During posed shots and soft poses (when the subject is fairly still) we can focus on their eyes using the center focus then recompose. When the subject is moving, we still use the center focus, but we do not have time to recompose. By the time we move the camera, they have moved to a different focus area! In this case, I have photos that have lots of space above their heads and I just crop it later. Example here: the photo on the left is SOOC (the center focus point is on her face... because they're moving I'm just snapping pictures without time to recompose) - then as you can see on the right I cropped it in a bit.

So why use center focus? My camera {the Canon 5D mark II} has 9 focus points, but actually, the center sensor is the only one that is a cross type sensor, making it more accurate, especially in low light situations. The other outside focus points are very weak, so using the center one to focus is the best way to get pictures that are in focus.

Using center focus & recomposing takes some practice, but once you get it, it's totally worth it! 
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