Lately, I’ve been talking a lot to my friends about photography. Photo shoots, workshops, focus points, . . . lenses. Photography world is exciting, but can be frustrating without help. Most of the things I know today I learned by trial and error. And while that is OK, I wish I was more guided in the beginning. If you feel a little like me, I hope this post will help you. One of the things I am passionate about is teaching others, so if you have a question, leave a comment, or email me.
One of the things that took me a long time to master is getting sharp images. I can’t say that I never get blurry images, there are still a handful, but very few. Here are some tips that I learned in no particular order that helped me get consistent sharp images.
1. Fixed Lenses
Back in the days when I wasn’t concerned about focus as much as I was about getting a great shot, nothing helped me more than using fixed lenses. I rented the 35mm 1.4 for every wedding I shot and it produced sharp images without me knowing much about focusing.
2. Back Button Focus
This I learned rather late, but thanks to Aleksey I have fully switched over to focusing with a back button. Instead of holding my finger half way frozen until I recompose the shot, I lock the focus on the back and then recompose. If you need help resetting your focus google it, there are tons of posts on how to change it. The back button helps to ensure that the subject will be crisp and sharp, and I do refocus between the shots to get the best results.
3. Moving Focus Points
Instead of my camera figuring out where to focus, I maneuver the focus point to where my subject is. If I’m very close to the subject, the focus will be on the eye, and as I move back I keep it on the face. The farther you move, the focus point can be anywhere on the subject.
4. Higher Aperture
I wish I knew this a while back, but I didn’t. All of my lenses have a wide aperture of 1.4 or 1.8, but it’s best not to shoot as wide as you can. A stop or two over gives you much sharper images. 2.0 is my favorite f/stop. For group shots I can sometimes go to 3.2 or 4.0, but most of the time 2.0 it is! Just ask my assistants ;).
5. A blog post by Amy Wenzel is one of the most helpful ones I read about getting sharper images. She says it so much better than I can, so please read her blog post!
This is not a final word on focusing, but this is how I learned and what I know. I’m sure there is something else I’m missing, but I hope this helps anyway.