Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 400.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 400.

You need to change two things in your camera. First, set your camera so that there is one autofocus square lighting up when you press the shutter halfway down to focus. This lets you choose where to place the focus point (using arrow keys on the back of the camera), instead of the camera guessing what you want in focus (this has different names on different cameras, but it’s often called Autofocus Area Mode).

Second, set your camera to AF-S or ONE SHOT. This setting makes the camera stay focussed on the same spot as long as you keep the shutter button depressed half way. That means you can move the camera so that the focus point is on the eye, press and hold halfway down, recompose so it looks good, and then finish pressing the shutter down (you need to practice this so that you don’t change your distance to the subject as you recompose because that will change the focus).

One more tip: If you’re shooting when there isn’t a lot of light, try using the center focus point. It’s more accurate, and will help you nail focus more often in low light (just remember to recompose so your subject isn’t always in the dead center).


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Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Pretty Canary.

  2. Thank you Levi for continuing to post great articles & sharing your knowledge with everyone! I always look forward to your articles because I KNOW I will learn something from it. And I love Photo Focus. Thank you for turning me on to it!

  3. Good Tip! Just a correction – On a Canon Camera it is AF-SERVO that the focus will stay in constant focus. ONE SHOT will focus and lock. You are required release and press again to re-compose if you or the subject moves. The best scenario for a Canon is the AI Focus setting which allows the camera to switch between ONE SHOT and AF-SERVO automatically if the subject or you move.


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About Levi Sim

Passion drives Levi to make photographs, teach, and help new friends. He tells people he's a photographer, but he really does more than just make pictures. His professional photography is primarily commercial work for businesses, both small and large, and he really helps show how great it'd be to work with those companies. He excels at photographing people, from two-year-olds to oil field workers to couples married for 60 years, everyone has a good time making pictures with Levi. Besides people and businesses, Levi enjoys all other aspects of photography, and practices landscapes and still life, as well. Other people enjoy photographing everything, and Levi wants to be able to help, so he practices as much as he can to be ready to help. He also runs a local photography club, is a Rotarian, actively helps at church, is a husband, and poppa to a peppy four-year-old girl. Levi writes regularly for and is co-author of books on Adobe Lightroom.


Landscape, Photography, Portrait, Shooting, Technique & Tutorials