Sometimes, when our photos turn out blurry, it’s because of a focus problem. Your camera has set the focus point on the wrong part of the image. An example is in the image on the right. The camera’s focus point is outside leaving our subject (the boy) blurry and out of focus.
How does this happen? Your camera isn’t smart enough to pick out what you want to be in focus, so it takes a best guess. When you take a photo, your camera selects areas near the middle of the image and ensures those are in focus.
Unfortunately if you want a more pleasing shot, you will rarely have your subject in the center of your photo. Using the ‘Rule of Thirds‘ your subject should be on the left or right side of the photo, not the middle.
One technique to use is called a “Focus then Recompose”. This is where you take these steps before you take the shot:
- First point your camera towards your subject
- Depress the shutter button half way down to force the camera to lock focus on your subject
- Now move the camera so your subject is on the left or right of the photo
- Fully press the shutter button to take the photo.
I used this method in the image to the right. Focus is on the boy even though he’s not in the center of the photo.
If you have an SLR camera, you can see where your camera’s focus will be by looking through the viewfinder. You can usually see what parts of the photo are in focus, but if you are not sure most cameras display an indication superimposed on the image (like a red box) where the focus has been set.
If you have a Point and Shoot camera, these sometimes show you on the LCD screen where the focus is. But if you’re not sure, take the photo and then use the LCD to zoom into the image. It’s much better to check that your photo has the correct focus immediately so you can take another shot if needed than to wait until you get home and discover your error!
There are more causes for blurry photos than your subject being out of focus. Check them out with my Top 4 Causes of Blurry Photos, And How To Fix Them.