with Courtney Slazinik
Changing Your Focal Point
Manual Mode

changing your focal point

**This is not changing to manual focusing. I still shot on auto focus but I just want you to learn to choose your focal point, which you can do on auto focus.**

Now that you know all about the exposure triangle for shooting in manual, it is time to learn how to change your focal point.

It is extremely important to change your focal point in photography because this allows you to choose what is in focus and not your camera.  You will need to go into your main menu to change the setting.

How To Videos:
Nikon d90

Nikon d3000

Canon Rebel

The key to changing your focal point is being able to put your “square” or “dot” on your subject’s eye. It is important that when taking a photo the eye is the sharpest part of the image. Remember when I talked about aperture and how depending on what it is set at, the focus slowly lessens as you move away from your focal point.

Remember – focal point on the eye!!
Here is an example of where the focus fell on something other than the eye. Notice how it takes away from the picture.

Focus fell on my shoulder/shirt:
ISO 100, f2.8, ss 1/200

When you are shooting more than one person, you should choose one of the subject’s eyes to focus on. Make sure your aperture is at a high enough number that both subjects are in focus. If your subjects aren’t close together you are going to need to bump up your aperture even more.

In the picture below, I focused on Kate’s eye closest to Emma. The problem with this picture is my aperture was at f1.8 (rookie mistake) This was taken about 2 weeks after I started to shoot on manual. Please excuse the scrape on Kate’s face and the food on Emma’s. Ha ha, this is my life folks!
ISO 100, f1.8, 1/320

Close up of the eyes so you can see how they are not in focus.

Here is what you should do. My focal point was on the child in the middle and my aperture is at f4.0 to make sure all 3 kiddos are in focus.
ISO 100, f4.0, ss 1/320

I love to take a photo where the person is blurry but an object is not so you don’t need to focus on the eye. Of course, not all my pictures are like this but it is nice to focus on the details. Here are a few examples to when I focused on the details and not the person. Sometimes these pictures tell a better story than if you had the subject in focus. Take a look at my aperture (f-stop) in these as well, since that plays a big roll in what is in focus as well. I typically like to shoot wide open when I’m capturing a specific detail.

ISO 100, f1.8, ss 1/100

ISO 100, f2.0, ss 1/80

ISO 100, f1.8, ss 1/200

ISO 100, f2.2, ss 1/4000

ISO 300, f2.8, ss 1/320

Now it is your turn!! Go out this week and take your photos in manual mode and change your focal point. Take some of your subject with it on their eye and some focused on an object. Have fun!! I can’t wait to see your pictures on Friday when you link up for the picture share!!

Read more about shooting in manual mode:
How to shoot in manual mode
8 tips to take a sharp photo