Focus Lock – Digital Photography Tip of the Week

I wrote last week about furthering your photographic abilities by joining a local camera club or taking a course at a community college. As I said last week, I found them to be helpful in my own photography.

This week I offer a tip to aid in focus and composition. I had previously wrote about using the rule of thirds as a guideline to your composition. One inherent problem in doing that though is that your subject ends up being off center, where your camera likes to focus. If you have selectable focus points, this is not an issue, however, if your camera only focused on the center area, then you need to use a different method for focus.

Of course you can manually focus, but with smaller viewfinders in today’s cameras or no manual focus ability on many digital point and shoot cameras, you have to utilize the focus lock feature of your digital camera. With this feature you can point your camera at your subject, press the shutter button down half way until it is in focus, and then while holding the button down, recompose your shot to place the subject where you want it in the frame. Shooting this way will ensure your main subject is in sharp focus, while retaining the ability of better composed photographs.

One word of caution though, some cameras also lock exposure at the same time they lock focus, and concentrate their exposure algorithms at the center of the frame, which could affect you overall exposure. Your camera may allow you to turn this feature off, so check your manual. Otherwise, you may have to provide some exposure compensation to attain a good exposure. Good thing for the instant feedback of digital!

Until next week, happy shooting.

The digital photography tip of the week is written by the PCIN Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Chris is a long time photographer and is currently the President of the Niagara Falls Camera Club. You can see more of his photography at his Photo of the Day website.
If you have a tip to send Chris, or a question about digital photography he can address in the newsletter, send it to

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