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Using focus points to take better photos. #photography

On my camera, I can choose to have one focus point or as many as 51 focus points and they are used to get your subject into focus. I like to use just one focus point but sometimes it is useful to have a lot of focus points. For example, if you’re photographing a large group of people you can arrange them and set the scene up so you get the whole group in focus. Using focus points is important and even if you only have one, like on my old bridge camera, it is important to get the one focus point on your subject.

focus points

Using focus points

When I took this picture I used one focus point and I had it on my subject, the bramble bush. It has brought it into sharp focus and blurred the background. I used a narrow aperture (high number) for a shallow depth of field. It can be hard to set the aperture on some cameras, it is on my bridge camera. To get a similar setting just set your camera on the macro scene mode which has an icon that looks like a flower or even set it on the one for portraits. On auto, your camera will automatically set the aperture wide if you’re close to your subject.

Aperture and shutter speed

Aperture is how wide the shutter opens when you take the photo. Shutter speed is how long the shutter is open. This summer my arms will probably get tanned especially if I do a lot of driving and my watchband will screen some of my skin and that won’t get exposed to the sun. My skin is photo-sensitive just like camera film and just like the sensor on my camera. The longer I’m in the sun, the darker my skin gets. The sensor on my camera is the exact opposite, the longer the light hits it, the lighter the photograph. Slow shutter speeds and wide apertures will allow more light into the camera and fast shutter speeds and narrow apertures less. We use a combination of aperture and shutter speed to get just enough light for a photo.

Depth of field

In my example photo, the background is blurred because I went for a  shallow depth of field with just the bramble in focus. I did that with a wide aperture and zoomed in. A narrow aperture will get the background in focus but let less light in and so we might have to use a slower shutter speed to compensate. The landscape setting on a camera uses a narrow aperture to get all the scene in focus. That can mean a shutter speed that is too slow and that causes blur. If you’re shooting a landscape in poor light try to focus on something in the middle ground and the aperture won’t be so narrow and you’ll get a faster shutter speed and a sharper picture.

Focus points

The focus points on a phone camera can be used in the same way. If you’re doing a landscape shot with a bridge camera or a phone and you have three trees in a field get your focus points on the one in the middle of the field. If you focus on the tree furthest away you will get better focus in good light but a blurred picture in poor light. If the light is really poor, focus on the tree closest to you and the aperture will go wide. You’ll get that tree in focus and the focus will fall away further away from the camera.

When you’ve taken your photos you might want to try editing them and PhotoScape is an easy editor to use.

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