Today I am starting with looking at focus, so that you can learn how to focus on the subject of your photograph.
On an iPhone, simply tap the screen on the thing you want to the camera to focus on. This is called your subject and you are controlling your camera phone's focal point. You may have never known about this because a lot of the time our camera phones know what to focus on, or because it has a wide depth of field (lots more about what that means later in the week!) everything you want to be in focus is, so you've never thought to question it. But then sometimes you'll take an image and it will be all blurry. This will be highly irritating, especially if you don't know how to do anything about it!
It is best to get in the habit of always tapping your screen on your subject, even if it looks like your camera phone is doing the right thing. This way you are taking the image with purpose and control. It will also help you to remember to think about your focal point when you are using your camera.
Take a few images now with your phone using this technique.
If you have an android phone many of them work in the same way. If you can't work out how to focus your camera phone please ask in the Facebook Group and I will help you.
When you use a camera you also need to be in control of your focal point. Now, you will all have different cameras and if you were all in the room with me I would go round and make sure you've all found the right button. I obviously can't do that here, so please promise me that if you are stuck you will either send me an email, a comment below or a message in our Facebook group? Please don't sit there wondering why it's not working for you!
When you look through your viewfinder or on the screen (depending on what type of camera you have) and press your shutter button half-way down you will see some dots and either one or all of them will be lit up red. These dots all represent a focal point. Can you see it? It will appear a bit like this image.
Now you need to find your button or option to change this. On most dSLR cameras you will find a button with a cross above it made up of little squares. If you press and hold this button and then turn your dial you will see the red dot move to the next focal point along.
If you haven’t got a dSLR camera or if you have one of the smaller model dSLR cameras you made not have a button and you may have to go into your menu to see how to change the focus. It will be there somewhere! Some of you will be able to touch the screen to do it like you did on your phone.
If you can’t find it either look it up in your manual or ask me in the Facebook Group! I don’t want you to go any further without knowing how to do this as it's so important.
Once you’ve found it practise using it to change the focus. Take some photographs and focus on your subject. Getting the focus right in your photographs is so important. When we look at an image our eyes need something to rest on. If your focus is wrong it will feel wrong when we look at your image.
In the image above the focus is on the petals that are in the centre of the flower. As the image has a shallow depth of field (more about that this week!) the rest of the image is soft and not in focus. If I hadn't focused it like this the camera may have selected the vase to focus on and all the petals could have been out of focus, which wouldn't have had the same effect.
Sometimes you want everything to be in focus. If you are taking an interiors shot, or a group portrait or a photograph of a building for example. Then you would want to select the multi-focal point option and light all the red dots up. Practise using that too. And please don't forget to take these images in good, natural light! I want you to build up on your skills and put them altogether.
//focal point image from the Photo Forum.