Nailing Focus | Business

November 20, 2017 , Business


Have you noticed your images aren’t as sharp as you would like them to be? Are you not sure why? Some of this might seem very basic but we want to help everyone right where they are at! Some may just be starting out, some may not but we want to cover this front to back. If you still feel like after all of our points on helping you nail focus and you can’t get the focus right shoot us a message and we would be happy to help!

Andrew and Chrissy Photography, Columbus Wedding Photographers, Athletic Club of Columbus


  1. Shutterspeed– Make sure you shutter speed is always AT LEAST double the speed of the longest distance on your lens. So if you are shooting with a 24-70, your shutter speed should never be slower than 140– which isn’t a speed but you get the point :-p. When I was first starting out I rode close to that number and I have learned that the faster my shutter speed the sharper the image. In most situations my shutter speed is 500 above just to give me peace of mind I wont have any motion blur and it makes the photos so much sharper. During most portrait sessions that are outside we will bump the ISO up MORE so that we can have a higher shutter speed. This tip alone changed the look of our images for the better.
  2. Aperture– Just because your lens GOES to 1.4 doesn’t mean you should take it there. If we are shooting one person we will go down that low if it is the look we desire but our rule is TWO people we stay in the 2’s, three people we stay in the 3’s and 4 or more we stay in the 4’s. We want to make sure everyones faces are in focus and not just their eyes and not their nose etc. Unless thats the look we are going for but for most standard photos it is not.
  3. Back Button- So for us we use back button focus. It has helped a TON in nailing down a focus point. We set our focus and THEN hold down the button to take the photo instead of trying to get it just right with the same button. If you aren’t sure how to set it up we would happily help you but every camera is different. Google like this “How to set up back button focus on Nikon/Canon _____” If you aren’t doing this it will help a TON!
  4. Metering Mode– When you are working with moving a lot SWITCH TO MATRIX. Justin and Mary helped us with this at their workshop and saved me from recessional and precessional photos at a wedding because the camera helps us follow a moving subject. Otherwise our mode is set on SPOT mode.
  5. AF-S- Take your camera off of the AF-C mode that has the grid. You need to be able to set your cameras focus by hand and use the single point. This will help guarantee what you want in focus. Here is an article that helps explain that if you haven’t already. Always set that focus on the eyes!
  6. Posing- You need to keep in mind a focus plane. If you pose everyone in a straight line, say like a bridal party, then they are going to be on the same focal plane. Focus falls into planes. Here is a great video that explains it. If you have them in V then where your focus is selected in the front people will slowly go out of focus. Or say you have a couple and they are standing belly to belly but one of them is standing slightly in front of the other. Your focus should always be on the person that is closest to the camera. Have you ever taken a picture and looked at it and wondered why their hand was in focus or another part of the picture and thats not what you selected? That is because of how the planes fall in focus. If you select something it falls in a straight line of focus. The camera will want to grab in most modes whatever is closest. So as we pose we try to keep what we want to be in focus the closest to us. When we pose families we try to keep as few planes as possible. If we have two rows of people then we need an aperture that is 4.5+ or we need to be pretty far back to allow the plane to grab more. Watch the video above if this is confusing!
  7. The right camera- If your camera doesn’t have the above settings than you most likely don’t have a camera that allows you to shoot manually for professional quality photos. You will need a Crop sensor or Full Sensor DSLR camera in order to do the above settings.
  8. Slow down- I am bad at this. I rush and snap snap snap and instead I have to tell myself to stop. Stop moving. Take a deep breath and take that extra second to make sure my focus is where I want it and once I breath I snap.


Sharing, serving, and celebrating,

Andrew + Chrissy

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