Monday, March 6, 2017

Picture Practice - Focus

Day 6 - Focus

For a successful picture, a lot depends on the right focus.  If the main subject of your image is not in focus, the viewer's eye is drawn to other parts of the picture. Fortunately, most camera phones have an auto-focus feature, but this is not fail-proof. Its operation differs between phone models, so I will hit a few key points with both types of phones.

iPhones:  iPhones have an auto-focus feature. Before you take the shot, allow just a second for the camera to focus (you can tell by the square on the screen what it is focusing on).  However, sometimes, the camera doesn't know what you want to focus on. A quick tap on the screen sets the focus spot, and if you hold your finger on the focus spot for 3 seconds, it locks the focus in that spot. You will see a square with AE/AF Lock indicated on the screen.
Generally, you will want the sharpest focus to be on the object closest to the camera, since that is generally where the viewer's eye will tend to go first. Having the background objects slightly blurred often reinforces the main subject.

The rule to follow to get the background blur:
Keep the camera close to the subject and the background as far as possible.

Both of these photos were taken with my iPhone. In the first, I flipped the camera upside down so that the camera eye was closest to the ground.  That created the sharp focus on the acorns and the blurred background, which was relatively far from the acorns. (If you look closely, you can see that the focus is actually on the center of the pile of acorns, rather than the one in the very front, which was fine in this photo).
In this photo, the baby is in sharp focus, while the dogs playing in the background are slightly blurry. The camera was farther away from the baby, which lessens the overall blur.
Android Phones:  Android phones also have an auto-focus feature. I may work differently on different phones however. My husbands' Galaxy 7Edge phone, it behaves the same way as an iPhone: you tap the part of the picture that you want to focus on. If this capability is not enabled, you can go to your camera settings and enable it, if you like.  To lock the focus, hold your finger on the focus spot for 3 seconds--a AE/AF Lock circle will appear.
Ron's phone also has the capability to go into Manual mode, which is really cool!! By switching to manual mode, you can adjust the the aperture and the ISO to some degree. It gives you more control over your shots, much like shooting with a DSLR. I don't think I could ever actually switch from my iPhone because of its ease of use and compatibility with my other Apple products, which I love, but the camera on his Edge certainly makes me think about it!

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