Photo Tip Friday - Learning How to Focus on the Subject You Want

Welcome Back! 

Today's tip is learning how to focus your camera on the part of the subject you want to focus on. 

That may sound rather boring or obvious, but you can use this technique to create some stunning results. 

Technical part: for DSLR (cameras with interchangeable lenses) cameras and "point and shoot" cameras

When you look through the view finder of your camera, you will notice that right before you snap the picture, a little red dot/dots appears in the viewfinder. 
This/these are the point/points your camera is both focusing on and reading the lighting on. 

Why is this important? 

Because the focal point is what the camera adjusts to. If you have a subject and background that are far away from each other, where the camera focuses is very important. Examples are below.

Practical part:

You can control this! (Tips for cell phone photo takers next week in part 2!)

After you compose your shot, you can depress the button you use to take the picture halfway down and see exactly what your camera is focusing on. 

You can use this to help take better shots. 


Let's look at a dramatic example....

I was actually trying to get the lady bug in focus.

Notice how the leaves and fence are in more or less in focus and the background is a beautiful, soft green? 

This is because the subject and background are so far away from each other. 

Now, look at this shot. 

It's just a bad shot. Why am I showing this? Because it's the exact same picture as above, but with the wrong focal point. 

The focal point ended up being the ground, several feet away. This just blurred the foreground. I kept the shot on my camera specifically to share with you. 

I truly don't want you to think every shot I take turns out the way I want. I get some lousy shots. But that's OKAY! It's all about learning how to make our cameras do the things we want them to. 

If you think about your shots as you take them and take a quick peek right afterwards, you can often times snap another one and improve on it. 

Digital is free! 
Take multiple shots and pick out the best! 

So, after taking 20 or so shots, I captured some I was really happy with. That little lady bug was moving around so getting the focal point right took some patience! 

But it was worth it! 

I was rewarded with some great closeups! 

Which shot do you like the best and why? 

Come back next Friday when I'll cover how to change the focal point during the composition of your pictures!

Hope this tip helps! 

Keep on clicking! 



  1. Oh, Mary, I'm going to looove your blog! I enjoy photography, and want (and need!) to learn more about it. I'm your newest email subscriber!

    Your flag counter is fun and interesting! :)

    Love, Joy

    1. So glad you dropped by Joy! Head back through some of my older posts. I cover all kinds of stuff from the technical to more artistic parts of photography.

      I'm so trying your chocolate cookies tomorrow!! Can't wait! :)

      Have a great weekend!

  2. IBellamente captured these beautiful macro! Thanks for your advice!

  3. I love taking pictures and I take a LOT of them to have a better shot at the photo I want. Thanks for the info in your post.

  4. Cuteness! I like the 2nd last one because I can almost "see" the ladybug scurrying across the wire.
    Great tips! Thanks for linking up to #FYBF!

  5. I like the first one for a Ladybug identification book, but I like the second one for artistic expression.

  6. Such good tips. I only have a point and shoot, but I'm slowly considering an upgrade. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  7. The third shot is my favorite. Automatic focus works great sometimes and other times not so great and that's why I'm so glad we've gone digital. Just as you said, it's for free! Thanks for the tips!