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Thread: Focusing question

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    Focusing question

    Can someone tell me why every time I see a pro taking photos of people they aim the camera away from the subject slightly and then move the camera back to the subject to take the photo. is this some focusing technique. If so can someone explain what this is and why they do this. And what settings on the camera are required.

    Thanks in advance

    Kyle
    Canon EOS 50D, Canon 15-85 F3.5-5.6 IS USM, Canon 70-200 F4L IS USM - Fujifilm finepix s9600,


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    I was wondering if they are not doing it the other way around (at least that's what I do a fair bit). First I point the camera at the subject, half-press for autofocus and metering (my camera is set on centre focus), then re-compose to have the subject slightly off centre - maybe around the rule of thirds mark. Beware however, that the focus may not be correct anymore after re-composing, especially if you use a very low number f/stop (very shallow depth of field).

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] my flickr page

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    Member Tjfrnds's Avatar
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    I'm no professional, but I think It could either be to lock focus or for locking exposure (AE lock). For eg. I use the middle AF point most of the time and my 450D only has 9 AF points, and so there are many times I'll lock focus on what I want but then recompose the shot. AE lock basically locks in the exposure while you recompose...this can be helpful when you want to meter exposure from a different area than you want to lock focus. I hope this makes sense...it's how I understand it but I have been known to be wrong before
    Tania

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    simple focus-and-recompose guys

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Kyle, to provide a slightly longer answer to a fairly short question ----

    What you are observing is more than likely a combination of actions by the photographer.
    The technique works well on static subjects and less well on rapidly moving subjects.
    For the purpose of an explanation I will use an outdoor portrait of a person as an example.

    The photographer will have their subject placed where they want to photograph them after taking into consideration the lighting ( sunlight or using some fill light from a flash ), the subjects stance and the background or lack of it that they are photographing them against.
    Generally with portraits it is desirable to have the main point of focus on the subjects eyes. It may not however be desirable to have the subjects eyes as the centre point of the composition in the end photograph. There fore the photographer will achieve (and lock) focus on the eyes and then move the camera up or down or sideways slightly so as to better compose the subject in what they want as the final image. A note at this point: Focus is related to the distance between the point of focus and the camera so a little up, down or sideways movement won't radically alter the focus point. Backwards and forwards movement of the camera ( or the subject ) will alter the focus point so using the above method has to be done with some care to ensure that the focus point is not "lost" during the re composition process. In order to do that with the camera it needs to have the focus operation set so that once focus is achieved it doesn't alter when when the re composition occurs. Continuous focus in this case is not the generally used method. Many photographers will use the AF on ( Nikon terminology ) or back focus button ( Canon terminology I think ) where focus is set by a separate button to the shutter. This allows a one press, set and forget method and frees the shutter button to solely operate the shutter.
    In conjunction with the above method, the photographer may also be performing another operation at the same time.
    As an example, the subjects eyes are shaded or in shadow and the side of their head is in full light it is desirable to be able to meter the light at the brightest point in order to prevent blown highlights.
    The photographer would then ( during the same process of focus and recompose ) spot or centre weighted meter ( depending on subject size and distance ) on the bright area and lock the exposure at that point with either the separate exposure lock button on the rear of the camera or by a half press of the shutter and then recompose the shot and activate the shutter.

    The above explanation may sound rather long winded and not overly simple but by using the rear buttons of the camera set for that function it becomes a very intuitive and fast way of exposing, focussing and composing a shot.
    Last edited by I @ M; 26-07-2011 at 7:50am.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    Thank you all for your replies, very much appreciated. I have noticed this action for such along time and have always wondered what they were doing. I guess everyone has there own technique, I have seen photographers aim to the side or aim to the ground, and one very quick motion the shot has been taken. The photographer has always pointed the camera away first then pointed at the subject. I have tried doing this on my daughter and has resulted in a blurded photo.

    And a big thanks to I@M for your indeapth reply to my question. I guess with so many options available on a camera, a small tweak here and there with settings can acheieve a great result.

    Thanks

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