Riverview Photographer

How to Keep Your Photos in Focus

Ensuring your photos are always in focus can make a huge difference in the quality of your images. Here’s a simple guide to help you get consistently sharp photos:

1. Use the Right Autofocus Mode

Autofocus Modes help your camera know what to focus on.

  • Single Shot (AF-S): Focuses once and holds. Best for still subjects like portraits.
  • Continuous (AF-C): Keeps focusing as your subject moves. Great for action shots.
  • Auto (AF-A): Switches between AF-S and AF-C as needed. Convenient for general use.

Tip: Use AF-S for a still subject and AF-C for moving ones like kids or pets.

2. Select Your Focus Points

Focus Points let you control where your camera focuses.

  • Single Point: Choose one specific area to focus on. Ideal for precise focusing, like on a person’s eye in a portrait.
  • Dynamic/Zone AF: Uses a group of points to follow moving subjects. Useful for sports or wildlife.
  • Auto Selection: The camera picks the focus points. Quick but less accurate.

Tip: For a portrait, use a single point on the eyes for sharp focus.

3. Use Manual Focus When Needed

Manual Focus gives you full control, great for tricky situations.


  • Focus Peaking: Highlights what's in focus (available on some cameras).
  • Magnify View: Zoom in on your screen or viewfinder to fine-tune focus.

Tip: Use manual focus for close-ups or when your camera struggles to autofocus.

4. Lock Focus and Recompose

Focus Lock helps you keep focus on a subject even if you move the camera.

  • How To: Half-press the shutter button to lock focus, then recompose your shot before fully pressing the button to take the photo.

Tip: Lock focus on a subject’s face, then shift the camera to place them off-center for a balanced composition.

5. Adjust Your Depth of Field

Aperture controls how much of your photo is in focus from front to back.

  • Wide Aperture (e.g., f/2.8): Blurs background, focusing on a narrow area. Good for portraits.
  • Small Aperture (e.g., f/11): Keeps more of the scene in focus. Great for landscapes.

Tip: Use a wide aperture for portraits to blur the background and a small aperture for landscapes to keep everything sharp.

6. Ensure Good Lighting

Light affects how well your camera can focus.

  • More Light: Makes it easier for your camera to focus. Use a higher ISO, open the aperture, or add more light if it’s dark.
  • Focus Assist Light: Some cameras have a light that helps in low light.

Tip: In dim conditions, increase the ISO or use a flash to help your camera focus better.

7. Keep Your Gear Clean and Steady

Clean Equipment: Dust or smudges on your lens can affect focus.

  • Use a Tripod: Keeps your camera steady, especially in low light, which helps maintain focus.

Tip: Clean your lens regularly and use a tripod for sharper photos, especially in low light or with long exposures.


Getting sharp photos consistently means using the right autofocus mode, selecting the best focus points, adjusting your aperture, ensuring good lighting, and keeping your gear clean and steady. By following these tips, you'll be able to capture clear, detailed images every time.