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Part 2: Focusing



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Pre-Focus

Let's go over some tips to get your images in focus. Be sure to pre-focus your images before you actually take the photo. To pre-focus an image, press the shutter release button halfway down, and then wait for a focus confirmation light to appear in your viewfinder. Some cameras emit a small, audible beep, which indicates that the image is actually in focus. By pressing the shutter release button in halfway, it allows the lens time to pre-focus on your subject.

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Camera Shake

"Camera shake" occurs in low-light situations when you handhold the camera, possibly in combination with a slow shutter speed. Your own body movement will cause the image to become blurry. Common problem situations include shooting indoors using window light or household lights, shooting on a cloudy, overcast day, or taking pictures in the shade.

Camera Shake

Camera Shake

Camera Shake Controlled

Camera Shake Controlled

Use a Tripod

A great way to minimize camera shake is to use a tripod. Not only will this help you avoid camera shake, but it will make it easier to frame your artwork with everything included, and a good composition.

Self-Timer Function

You can use the camera's self-timer function along with a tripod. With the self-timer function activated, the camera begins a countdown once you've pressed the shutter release button. After this short delay, the camera takes the picture. This is one way for you to set up your camera. Hit the shutter release button and then step away from the camera. This will eliminate any movement in the tripod or in the camera. The tripod and the self-timer are meant to be used together.



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Zoom Function

After exposure on the back of your LCD screen, zoom in and magnify the image as much as you can. Note that some cameras will not allow you to zoom in 100%. Be careful, as the LCD screen is never completely accurate. Zooming in may help you to double check your focus before you move on to your next shot.

Zoom Out

Zoom Out

Zoom In

Zoom In



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Macro Mode

For detail shots, you may be able to simply zoom in with your camera's lens. To get in closer, you may need to use your camera's macro function. You can activate the macro function by turning on the camera's flower icon.

The distance from subject to lens is a very important consideration when using the macro mode, and every camera is different. Double-check the owner's manual to find the distance range for your camera's macro function. The range will only be a matter of inches, and you will need to measure it with a ruler.



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Aperture Priority

Earlier, in the camera buyer's guide, I talked about aperture priority and how this can control depth of field. If you bought a camera with this function, you can play with the depth of field. Say you'd like a narrow depth of field, one that has a foreground in focus with a background that's out of focus. What you can do is choose aperture priority, and then choose a lower F stop number. Your camera will figure out the rest of the exposure. Be aware that a shot with a selective focus image might actually take away from your artwork.

A wider depth of field will allow you keep foreground, middle ground and background in clear focus. This might be an advantage if you have a very large piece. To get a wider depth of field, use your aperture priority mode and choose a larger-numbered F stop. The camera will figure out the rest of the exposure. Another way to do this is to choose your camera's landscape shooting mode. Even if you're shooting a 3D object, landscape mode can actually help you gain more depth of field.

Narrow Depth of Field

Narrow Depth of Field

Wide Depth of Field

Wide Depth of Field