Beginner's Tutorial: Focus Lock Explained

See why Focus Lock is a useful too you should remember how to use.

|  General Photography
 Add Comment

After you've taken a photograph of two people have you looked at the image and noticed the camera has focused on the background, between their heads instead of them? Well, you're not the first. By raising the camera, putting the people in the middle of the picture and clicking the shutter button you'd think the camera would know to focus on the people but until Face Detection started appearing, they didn't and this is where focal lock came in useful. Even though you can take sharp portraits with Face Detection now there's still times when focus lock will come in handy. For example, if you're taking a photo with the subject off-centre, so some of the background can be seen the camera can adjust to focus on the background instead of your subject. As a result you'll have a lovely shot of your background but your main subject will be blurred. 

Here's how you use focus lock:
 

1. Point your camera at your subject, making sure they are in the position you want them to be and half press the shutter button to activate the focus lock function. This tells the camera this is what you want to focus on and as long as you don't let go of the button or fully press it, the focus will remain locked.

2. Next, move your camera to frame the shot however you want then press the shutter button fully to take your photograph.

3. Make sure your subject doesn't move as if they change position, even slightly, it'll mean they're no longer in focus and you'll have to start the process again.

Move the slider in the image to the right to see how using focus lock to change the point of focus can alter the look of an image.


Use focus lock for close up work


You can also use the focus lock to ensure the camera has focused on exactly the right point of the subject. This is important for close up photography where it may not be possible to get the whole of an insect or flower in focus. In such cases, pick the area that's most important and focus there.

Butterfly
Photo by Peter Bargh.




Find out more about Nikon's products by clicking these links:

 
 
Support this site by shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK, Save 10% with Eversure Insurance.
*It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

Other articles you might find interesting...

Wide Angle Photography Hints And Tips
Photograph Artificial Poppies On and Around Remembrance Day
Autumn Photography Walk Advice
Seven Tutorials On Capturing Motion And Movement
Take A Composition Challenge
Halloween Photography Tips
Epic List Of 30 Winter Photography Tutorials
10 Ways To Instantly Improve Photo Backgrounds

Comments


JJGEE 14 7.6k 18 England
23 Feb 2012 2:39PM
Another option would be to use Manual Focus, which I find far easier than trying to recompose whilst half depressing the shutter release button, especially whilst using a tripod !

Also, use autofocus to focus, then switch to Manual, thus locking the focus.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.