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Friday, March 26, 2010

Q&A Friday

One quick question for today:
How do you get consistent bang on focus.....with one it is fine but what about three, four, five or more people?
Thanks for sending in your question. I know that a lot of people have trouble understanding how to get focus when more than one subject is in the picture. There are mathematical ways to figure this out, but I'm not a mathematician, so I won't bore you with that. :) However there are some things to keep in mind, and some general rules that you can apply to achieve good results, and I've listed them below.

-When you stop down your aperture (the larger the number), the better results you'll have. For instance, when you open wide (say 1.4) you have a very shallow depth of field (DOF). This means that your focus point will be in focus, with fall-off of sharpness in front of and behind your focus point. However, when you stop down (say F11) that creates more sharpness throughout your focal plane.

-Focusing on the front person of the group will give you better focus, because focus tends to fall backward, rather than forward.

-As a general rule of thumb you could use an aperture at a similar number to the number of people you have. I usually stop down one more just to be sure everyone is in focus. I know this can be difficult with a large group, and may require you to bump your ISO and/or use another lighting source to expose properly. However, with a group of three, you could easily use 4.5 and be fine.

-Try to get the members of your group to bring their heads close together so that they are on the same or similar plane. When you have someone far in the background, they are more likely to fall out of focus than if you bring their heads close to the heads in the front.

-The closer you are to the subjects, the shallower the DOF. Try stepping back a couple of steps and you'll be amazed at how much better the results are.

Some great websites to look at for this is can be found here, here, and here. They might seem a little confusing at first, but read them slowly and try to digest the information. You'll learn a lot! Also, if you have an iPhone, check out this DOF calculator you can add! I love that you can put in your camera and lens to give you accurate results on the go.


If you have a question you'd like me to answer, please email me at joannataylorphotography at gmail dot com

2 comments:

Brooke said...

Awesome Joanna, you are so rad. I love the idea of the iphone app!

Nathan Allison said...

Some great tips Joanna! Thanks. :)