Digital SLR Photography - - The Beginner's Guide -

There are two key set­tings you need to se­lect to en­sure the AF sys­tem is op­ti­mised for por­traits. These cover the AF point cov­er­age and the be­hav­iour of the AF once locked on the sub­ject.

1 SE­LECT SIN­GLE- POINT AF: Use multi- point AF and you run the risk of the AF fo­cus­ing on the wrong area. You want the sub­ject's eyes to be as sharp as pos­si­ble, so se­lect a sin­gle AF sen­sor via the AF point se­lec­tion but­ton. Use the sin­gle AF point to fo­cus on one of the sub­ject's eyes, us­ing one of these two meth­ods: A) Use the cen­tral AF point, fo­cus & re­com­pose: With most cam­eras, the cen­tral AF sys­tem is the most pre­cise, us­ing the more sen­si­tive cross- type sen­sor, as op­posed to a line sen­sor, mak­ing it the best op­tion to use. This is es­pe­cially true when shoot­ing in low light, when the extra sen­si­tiv­ity can make a dif­fer­ence. With this method, you fo­cus on the eye by press­ing the shut­ter but­ton half­way, re­com­pose, then shoot.

B) Se­lect the AF point over one of the eyes: If you plan on shoot­ing sev­eral frames with­out shift­ing the po­si­tion of the cam­era or sub­ject, then se­lect the AF sen­sor over one of the sub­ject’s eyes to save you hav­ing to re­com­pose be­tween frames. Take care to en­sure you al­ways have the AF point placed over the eye. This isn't the best op­tion if you reg­u­larly shift your po­si­tion or switch the cam­era’s from up­right to land­scape for­mat.

2 Se­lect sin­gle- shot AF: Your cam­era’s AF sys­tem has three main fo­cus­ing modes, which con­trol how the AF be­haves af­ter it ini­tially locks fo­cus. You want to se­lect sin­gle- shot/ one- shot AF, usu­ally des­ig­nated as AF- S, S- AF or sim­i­lar. Do­ing so en­sures that the fo­cus doesn't shift once you've locked fo­cus on the sub­ject's eye, even if you re­com­pose the frame. You do need to be care­ful as if you or the sub­ject move af­ter you fo­cus and be­fore you fire the shut­ter, then you risk an un­sharp re­sult.

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