Thursday, June 2, 2011

Selective Focus Will Rock Your World

Did you notice those pretty little eyelashes?
Of course you did!

See these adorable newborn wrinkles on her tiny little hand?

Of course you do!

It's because I used my selective focus option that you can clearly see what I want you to focus on, and everything else is blurred.  

Selective Focus has rocked my world, and it'll rock yours too when you start using it.  I'm amazed at how many of my friends have these great cameras but have no idea this feature exists.  

Here's my very non-technical, easy explainable definition of Selective Focus:
Selective Focus lets you pinpoint the exact spot you want the focus of your photo to be, anywhere in the frame.  

Most digital cameras (not point & shoots, just ones with interchangeable lenses) have an area on the back
of the camera that lets you choose where to put the focus of your camera.  You can usually choose between Center Focus, Area Focus and Single Point Focus.  The default is usually Center Focus and most people never move that dial because they don't know what the other options do.  That's ok if you're one of those people, I was too, not too long ago!  But after I read my manual {hint hint hint}  I realized I had so many more creative options open to me by using the Single Point Focus.  Who Knew????

Here's what my Nikon camera looks like when I've selected the Single Focus option:

Now I can move my little red focus indicator around in my viewfinder to the exact place I want my focus to be.  I just use the little round dial on the back and with my thumb I move it up or down, side to side.  I think Canon's have a joystick?  Either way, it's very simple to move and after doing it a few times you won't even have to think about it, it will be second nature.

Take a look at these lovely ladies...they stayed in the same spot and I stayed in the same spot for both of these shots...all I did was move my focal point from one girl to the next.

See how easy that is?  I typically compose my shot first and then I'll  move my focal point to where I want it.  

Although I use Selective Focus for almost all my portraits, it's not a necessity for every photo.  When you're doing a large, serious group photo {hahaha} and you're wanting to make sure most of the scene is in focus, I usually use my Center Focus, like for this shot:

But if you're wanting to highlight something fabulous, like your daughter's pretty blue eyes....

...then dust off that camera manual and find out how you can start using Selective Focus to Rock Your World!


Ashley Sisk said...

Awesome explanation. I normally use one point focus and use the compose/recompose method. But I'm going to try a few new things now.

Haynes said...

I can't to get home and try this thank your for this one....

Sarah Cox said...

This is one of the first things I learned to use on my camera and I LOVE it! You are so right, it gives you so much more creative control of your pictures!

hootnonny said...

Thanks for the easy to understand post on selective focus.
Am wondering what lens you used for the face shots?

way outnumbered said...

@hootnonny ~
I use my Nikkor 50mm 1.4 for all my portrait shots and I usually shoot at a very low aperture like 1.8 - 2.2.
Have Fun!

thatgirlblogs said...

was doing this without knowing I was doing this. thanks for making me look smart!

Butterbean Row said...

That was a fabulous explanation of selective focus. I can't wait to try it!
The info you gave for photographing newborns really came in handy for my first newborn photoshoot. It is on my blog if you have time to look.
Thanks for all you do for us out here.

way outnumbered said...

Butterbean Row ~ I took a look at your newborn photos...very nice! Also your flower shots are absolutely Beautiful!!

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