“Photography Focus: How to Make Everything in Your Photo Sharp” is an excerpt from the Digital Photography for Moms Guided 365 project. This lesson is one of the 32 lessons devoted to improving focus in photos. 

OBJECTIVE: FOCUS ON INFINITY

Infinite focus is a specific type of manual focusing. It refers to focusing on a point past which everything else will also be in focus.

Photography Focus: Infinite Setting

Distance. f/10, 1 second, ISO 200.

Photographers use the infinite setting to set focus for something far in the distance (like landscapes) or hard to focus on (like fireworks).

If your lens has the ability to focus infinitely, it will have this symbol near the focus ring: .

Photography Focus: How to Make Everything in Your Photo Sharp

In order to use it, you would switch your camera to manual focus using the switch on the lens, or the method required by your camera.  (If you haven’t subscribed to the Guided365 and aren’t sure how to do this, read on. I’ve included some extra info from another lesson below.)

Put the switch in the MF position and then twist the focus ring on  your lens so that the focus indicator lines up with the  symbol. You will twist all the way to one side or the other.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course, because infinite focus is a type of deep depth of field, the aperture you use will be important. The smaller the better, if you want more of the photo to be in focus. Try an aperture size starting with f/10 or f/16.

Also, the distance between your camera and subject are very important. Regardless of the aperture you choose, if you use infinite focus, it will be hard to get any foreground of your image in focus. Of course, if you were standing at the edge of a ravine shooting at a mountain on the other side, you might not have any foreground – in this situation, your entire photo could be well focused.

After you finish shooting, don’t forget to turn that switch on your lens back to AF!

Bonus Info: Use Manual Focus on Your Lens

There are times when you can get better focus if you focus manually. Not many, but enough that it’s good to know how to switch to manual when you need to.

There are also times when you want to blur a photo completely for creative reasons.

First, let’s talk about how to shoot with manual focus.

Most sDLR lenses have a switch. It’s set to AF most of the time. Move it to MF (Manual Focus), when you’d like to take over.
af switch

If your lens doesn’t have an AF/MF switch, look  in your camera manual for Manual Focus. If you can’t find a related topic in the manual, try the same search on the internet – it’s a bit of a convoluted process for some cameras.

Photography Focus: Why Shoot with Manual Focus?

There are several situations where focusing manually can be more accurate:

  • Shooting into the sun for a backlit photo – It’s hard for the camera to find contrast to focus on when shooting a dark subject with the sun behind it. (Of course, it’s hard for you to focus when you’re looking into the sun too.)
  • Macro photography – Serious macro shooters often focus manually in order to find the most precise focus possible.
  • Shooting through a fence – or branches, flowers, or anything else between you and your subject. If you are trying to frame a subject with foreground elements, you might stump autofocus. You can move to manual in order to set the camera straight.
  • Live View – I’ve read that it’s harder to use autofocus when shooting with Live View. I don’t use Live View enough to have an opinion on this. (Live View is the shooting mode where you see what’s in your viewfinder on the camera LCD before you shoot.)

Now you know how to move to manual focus and how to focus on infinity. Join the Guided365 now to access the other 30 lessons about improving photography focus.

Today’s Assignment

  • What to Shoot: Distance.
  • How to Shoot: On manual mode using the infinity focus setting on your lens (if available).
  • Hashtag: #Guided365, #Day136Guided365
  • Include with Post: Your settings. Is the far-off part of your image sharp enough?
  • Carry forward from this assignment: Use infinite focus primarily for very far off objects.

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