30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 6

DAY #6!

TIP #6: Set your focus points on one center focus point.

Look through your viewfinder and get ready to snap a picture. When you press the shutter button half way down what do you see? Do you see 9 or 16 or 52 red dots trying to tell the camera where to focus? (The #52 was an exaggeration by the way). I prefer to keep my camera’s focus point almost always selected on the one center focus point.

Some photographers toggle and change their focus points all the time. I feel that when photographing wiggly children and families it is simpler to maintain one central focus point. I don’t want to miss the moment. I focus on my subject’s face and then I recompose if I want the images off center rather than changing my focus point.

The center focus point is generally the most reliable as well. So when you press the shutter halfway down now you should only see a red dot in the very center. Try it. See what you think. Hopefully now your camera won’t go crazy on auto focus zooming back and forth, in and out, not sure of what it should focus on.


  1. Anisa Ray on November 6, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Great advice! However, how do I not break the rule of thirds if I use the center point to focus on eyes or my main subject? I know when I’m photographing an entire scene, using the center point is ok especially on a bigger F stop because everything is in focus so I don’t have to worry about blurriness appearing where I don’t want it, but what about close up shots that don’t fill the entire view? How do I focus on left or right sides with the center point or is it best to adjust focus points in these particular times? or.. should my F stop be a higher number? I love the blurry bokeh but sometimes I can’t get two people (my older son holding younger brother in his lap) to both focus yet get a nice bokeh.

    I need to experiment more!! for sure! I will definitely try the center point more often!!

    Thanks CORI! you are AWEsOME

  2. cori on November 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Remember these are my tips and preferences that I recommend. They’re not straight out of a book or a manual they’re from my experience. So try them and see if they work for you. You may have a different preference. :)

    I definitely use my center focus point and focus on a child’s face/eyes and then recompose the picture to be off center/rule of thirds. Look for another upcoming blog post on this issue/technique this month as well. :)

  3. Anisa Ray on November 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    AWESOME TIPS! Anything helps someone like me and i take any tips from someone with great experience! I absolutely love your work! I can not wait to try out these tips!!

    thank you so much!

  4. Christina on December 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for the tip! To add to question above, when u have two or more kids (subjects) in a shot and still want great bokeh – where should you focus ur center focus point, especially if they are at two different levels? Thanks Cori!

  5. cori on December 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    two kids, great blurry bokeh, you need to make sure they’re both on the same plane (if you want them both in focus) and grab one of their faces, usually their eyes. if they’re on different levels, you won’t get all that you desire. you can’t get blurry bokeh, both kids in focus and on different planes/levels.