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Move to Manual: Understanding Focal Points

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  1. Kelly says:

    Live this series, thank you so much for sharing! 🙂 just a quick question, what are your thoughts on focus & recompose vs. toggling your focus points. Focusing is the thing I currently struggle with the most with (or the thing i am most focused on, ha!). thanks for this post!

  2. You are certainly a multi-talented lady! I have dabbled with manual shooting for several years (I was on the yearbook staff 3 years in high school, two of which I was the editor, so I got to play with very expensive cameras), but I’ve always been kind of scared to dive in 100%. This post made me want to try it again. Noah is so adorable – I love seeing the pictures you take of him! 🙂

  3. Lia says:

    No worries Courtney thanks for the great advice .

  4. Ophelia says:

    I’ve been following along with your series (haven’t actually posted any photos) and was aware of the topics previously discussed. But this blog post has helped me tremendously. I just started shooting in manual just a few weeks ago, especially since I have a 50mm lens now. But it frustrated me when the camera focused on something else and left the rest blurry. I tried out some of your tips and finally got some shots I wanted. I’m still learning to master indoor shots (like at nighttime) but so far, I am LOVING my 50mm because I can finally have good indoor sports photos. 🙂 I’m looking forward to the metering topic since that is new to me as well. Thanks! 🙂

  5. Carolyn says:

    Another great post, thanks!
    Still hoping you put a PDF out of all of these …. 🙂

  6. Stasha says:

    This is a great idea. I always keep it single point, center weight and focus manually, press half way down to lock my focus and then reposition camera. Must try your idea, sometimes it could save time. But I think I have been doing it this way for so long it is second nature…
    These series are really great Courtney. I say that every week, but I mean it!!!

  7. Lia says:

    Just a question on the focus … I’ve got a Nikon d5100 and the focus modes are af-a af-s af-c.
    Just a bit confused as to which one I should use in manual ? The AF -area modes are single point dynamic and 3d . Which one would you suggest I use ?

    • Courtney says:

      AF-A (Autofocus Automatic) on the Nikon d5100 is the equivalent of the Al Focus on Canon. That will switch back and forth between the other two, depending on whether or not your subject moved. AF-S (Autofocus Single) is the One Shot Auto Focus that is for Still Subjects; and the AF-C (Autofocus Continuous) is the Al Servo for Nikon that you’ll need to use for moving subjects. Thanks for pointing out the difference in Canon and Nikon! I’m going to go edit this post to include this information.

  8. Nicole says:

    YOU must have read my mind when you wrote this post!. Yesterday I took the girls to the park and was mucking around with my settings etc and came across that one shot, al servo stuff and had NO idea what it was!. I also JUST figured out my self-timer!. I am shotting in full manual now thanks to you and this series, and adjust my settings with the light meter usually. More so adjusting my shutter speed 🙂

  9. Chris H says:

    I have totally enjoyed doing this and seeing everyon elses photo’s as well I try to look at everyone elses before I post mine that gives me ideas. Well I have blogged about the Focusing and here’s my link with my pictures that are already up in Flickr. http://www.haynesfamilyofthree.com/2012/03/focusing.html

  10. Gerty says:

    First of all, great that you’re a Canon user. Got no problem with Nikon, I just can’t catch on with their terminology.
    I’ve read lots of articles on those AF settings. I’m partial to One Shot, but I guess I can get away with it not being blurry if my shutter speed is fast enough. I will experiment with AI Servo.

    • Courtney says:

      You CAN compensate for a moving subject with your shutter speed. But remember that the higher your shutter speed, the less light you are letting in. So you’ll have to adjust some other settings (like ISO and Aperture). If you aren’t wanting to lose any of your depth of field and don’t want to risk extra, unneeded noise by upping your ISO, I would try Al Servo or Al Focus. 🙂

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Courtney Kirkland is a Southeast Alabama Writer & Designer. Since 2008, Courtney has passionately provided beautiful, intentional design to small businesses & bloggers and encouraged thousands to walk in a rich faith in any situation.