Capture the action with back-button focus
MOST PHOTOGRAPHERS FOCUS THEIR images with a half-press of the shutter button, which is the default method on all modern cameras. Others, though, opt for the lesserknown system of back-button focusing (BBF). The idea is that instead of shooting and focusing being controlled by one button, they’re split, with focus control moving to the back of the camera (a button usually marked AE-L, AF-L or AF-ON), and operated by the thumb. Not all entry-level cameras offer BBF functionality, but most enthusiast and professional bodies do.
There are several advantages to BBF, perhaps the biggest of which is that you don’t have to hold your finger half-down on the shutter button to lock focus. It also makes it much easier to focus on a certain position with the central AF point, recompose, and then take several shots, as the camera won’t try to refocus every time you press the shutter. And BBF makes using continuous focusing easier, which is far better for fast-action photography. Switching to back-button focusing takes some getting used to, but most photographers who try it ultimately consider it a superior system.
Switching to back-button focusing requires a quick tweak to the camera’s menu.
10 There are some shooting situations, including wedding ceremonies, where shutter noise can be a real problem. But did you know that some DSLRs have a Silent
Shutter mode (in reality it’s quiet, but not silent)? This is turned on using the drive dial, and is represented by a ‘Q’ on a Nikon, and an ‘S’ on a Canon. If you own a CSC, consider activating the electronic shutter, which is near-silent and allows faster bursts.