In today’s day, our camera equipment is so technically advanced; it doesn’t seem like that a photographer would need to do anything in manual. Point the camera at your model, push the shutter button half way so it focuses on him or her, then push the shutter button all the way and done. Picture is taken in less than 5 seconds. However, there are going to be times within your career where you will need manual focus.
Let me first start by saying this…there is nothing wrong with one or the other. Personally, I use both in every session I do. For weddings, I mainly use autofocus. For portraits, I mainly use manual. What you want to capture and where you want your camera to focus on depends on what type of focus you need to use.
Example: The image below was done using autofocus because I am standing about 40 feet away from them. The farther you are away from your client the less you need to use manual, because auto has less it needs to find a focus on. Being farther away the shoulders, head, body, look to be in line with each other therefore it focused on their whole body verses rather than a certain part of their body. In fact, the farther you are away from them you will need to use auto. In manual, it is difficult to focus on something that is far away.
Manual is used for closer shots; portraits, rings, and detail work. Auto doesn’t know what area you want to focus on therefore the lens needs help knowing what to focus on. An example is the image below. In this image I am using my 35mm lens and with the ring placed on the tire; the lens doesn’t know whether to focus on the tread or on the ring.
Honestly, in this example, auto focus reminds me of being a mom; as a Mom this is how I think, especially in the morning; ‘I need to get the bathroom cleaned, dishes done, laundry folded, Corban needs diaper changed, then after that I need to do this and this and this and oooohhh can’t forget about this!” My brain fires in every direction and that’s exactly what your lens is doing when you trying to make is focus on something and it doesn’t know what to focus on.
As you continue to grow, knowing which type of focus to use will become second nature. I would suggest playing with your manual focus and learning that when you are not with a client. Take some time to learn and “play” with your settings.
When you are using the manual mode on your lens, to get it to focus you simply turn the ring on your lens and you will begin to see your picture come into focus and become clear.
Do you still want to learn how to shoot in manual mode on your camera? Do you feel like your pictures are lacking? Join us over at our Photography Course and learn how to shoot like a pro in less than 2 weeks!
Jessica Lillie Photography
As a photographer who is also a wife and a mother, I had to learn how to organize my time efficiently the hard way. I started my photography business in 2011, about 6 months after my husband, Caleb, and I got married. In 2012, I finished up my bachelors and had our first son a week later. We had our second son in 2014 and are now expecting our third child in October. We own 20 acres, have cows, a horse, and a garden…it’s a busy little place in the country that we call our home.