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Back Button Focusing
Manual Mode Tips, Techinique

A great trick to help you capture a nice sharp photo is by using Back Button Focusing (BBF). This is an excellent way to help preventing blurry photos. I used to be really scared to try BBF. It seemed like this super scary technical photography thing. After I figured out how to do it, I was SHOCKED at how easy it was. Before I shot using BBF about 75% of my photos were in focus but after I started to use BBF now about 95% of my photos are in focus. Please don’t be too scared to try it. Basically, all you need to do is change a setting in your menu and push an additional button when you are shooting. That simple!

How to set up Back Button Focusing on a Canon

Back Button Focus for Nikon

I’m sorry I don’t have a more detailed lesson or even pictures with my post for today. I am on vacation in the States and have spent the last 3 days getting a new operating system put on my computer, then trying to install Lightroom, and now trying to upload my photos. Goodness! What a headache!! Please be patient with me as I try to figure all of this out :O)

Today is the last day!!! Don’t forget about the Clickin’ Moms discount going on right now! Use this 20% off discount code – FRIEND which is good until Jan 31st. It is a wonderful forum based website with TONS of photography tips and so much more!

  • January 31, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Oh wow! I have never even heard of this until I started seeing people mention this on their blogs. I had no idea what people were talking about. As someone with a D40 and only 3 focal points, this is nice! Maybe I can rock this camera for a little while longer, until I can afford another. ;)

  • January 31, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Yes! I love BBF and after I made the switch, so many more of my shots were in focus. Plus, it makes it easier to focus-recompose. I’ll never go back!

  • Amber
    January 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Okay, okay, I’ll try it! :)

  • February 1, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    I had no idea this existed. Really, Courtney, should I do it. I guess I need to practice a few times and see how it goes pushing another button.

    Thanks girl. I hope you are having a fun time and don’t stress about this blog. We’ll be here. Your stuff is too good to not come back.

    • February 1, 2011 at 12:56 AM

      Thanks Amber!! Yes, definitely try it! I promise it sounds harder than it is :O) Give it a go and don’t turn back :O)

  • February 1, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    I am going to do this. I had never heard of this before. I will do it when the boys go to sleep so I can concentrate.

  • February 1, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Hmmm… I tried more today. Looks like it will only still focus on that 1 line on my D40. Left, Center & Right. Darn it! Anyone else with a D40 able to do more? Maybe I am doing it wrong?

  • June 26, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    I have been trying this for 2 days and I feel like my images have gone down hill. I’m reading so many articles on this, but don’t feel like I am doing it right either. I wish I knew what was wrong! So many seem to love this, but I clearly don’t get it. Should i use a single focal point? I have a d 90, if that makes a difference.

    • June 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      Yes, definitely use the single focal point. This way you can chose the one object you want in focus. Are you pictures blurry?? How have they gone down hill?? I hope we can figure this out!!

      • June 27, 2011 at 8:56 AM

        Thanks for replying Courtney! I’m trying to figure this out and getting more confused. My photos are softer than before. I’ve lost sharpness. What I have been doing is setting as the link suggested, and then holding down the AF-L, AF-E on my D90, and then pressing the shutter. I think what I may be doing wrong is holding the two buttons at the same time. Am I supposed to hold the back button, let go, then press the shutter? Or hold the back button, and press shutter at the same time? I’ve just gone full manual as well, so I think my head is swirling a bit. ;)

        • June 27, 2011 at 9:09 PM

          Yes, you should hold the AF-l/AF-E button to focus, keep holding it and then press the shutter speed. BBF can be a lot to take on if you just started shooting in manual. If you want to send me some pics with your settings I can take a look at them and see if I can help :O)

  • Priscilla Cork
    August 17, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    I am really keen to try this out but am confused about which option to pick ( cannon 50D )

    2: Metering start / Meter + AF start
    3: AE Lock / Metering + AF start

    have you tried them both ? what is your experience.
    Thanks :)

  • September 13, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    I have been working on back button focusing and I am just curious, how practical is it with moving kiddos? I can definitely see an improvement in my focus, but it seems like a lot of motion when you are working with fast moving targets.

  • Dupinder
    June 27, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    Hi, just discovered your page and wanted to say, I really learned quite a bit just reading different articles. I just shoot my girls today jumping in the puddles and was so disappointed with the blurry shots. I was shooting at 1/60 hand held : -O. I’ll redo the photo shoot with 1/125 and see how it goes.
    Keep up the good work,

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