Focus

Focus is adjusted with the camera’s lens, wither manually turning the focus ring, or automatically by the camera. Focus in photography refers to the area that is sharpest in an image, usually (but not always) the main subject. For example in Landscape photography we generally want the entire image from front to back, to be in sharp focus, in a portrait image we usually want the person or main subject to be in focus and the background out of focus. Focus in photography is critical, it not only creates successful images but also helps us to get the viewer of the image to look where we want them to. It is critical to get focus correct, as there is no way to change it afterwards.

Most digital cameras have the option to use manual (M) focus or automatic (auto or A) or a variety of automatic programme modes.

Manual focus gives you ultimate control on what areas of the image are in focus and combined with aperture and shutter speed settings gives you maximum control of your image. It is worth learning how to manually focus your camera and doing so will give you a better understanding of photography principles. A lens is focussed manually by turning the focus ring.

Autofocus allows the camera to focus for you, with varying degrees of input from the photographer. Fully autofocus, the camera will decide which areas of the photograph will be sharp, programme modes allow the autofocus to be configured for different subjects such as landscape, portrait or sport. Autofocus systems are becoming extremely advanced and are particularly helpful for photographers with impaired vision. Autofocus does not always get it right and it can also encourage you to forget to pay attention to where the focus is in your image.