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Photography Question 
Lynn A. Page

Out of focus...

  Focusing issues #1
Focusing issues #1
© Lynn A. Page
Canon EOS 50D Digi...
  Focusing issue #2
Focusing issue #2
© Lynn A. Page
Canon EOS 50D Digi...
Okay, I know you've seen this question a million times but what am I doing wrong with my focusing?? ugh!

Working with a tripod and my camera in Manual, the first image was shot at F16 Shutter 1/20 in evaluate metering mode. Both subjects in front of the frame are slightly soft but the third subject in the middle is a little out of focus.

Second image which I would prefer over the first was shot at F3.5 and a shutter speed of 1/250, however focus is even more of an issue and I'm not sure what that is in the upper right hand corner of the frame.

Hopefully someone can offer a few suggestions. I thought my biggest challenge on this photo shoot was working with two teenage boys who definitely did not want to be there.

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12/10/2010 1:07:46 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Movement from the people will show up with 1/20th shutter speed. First picture looks like that is the problem. Shutter speed too slow.
Second picture I'm not seeing any point of focus. If a picture is out of focus, you can usually see some point that is in focus, in front of behind the subject. But judging by the pants leg of the first picture, I'm guessing you focused in front on both, and when you changed aperture, it made it look worse.
The second picture also looks too dark.
What kind of lens did you use, size and brand?

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12/10/2010 2:55:00 PM

Randy A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2002
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  This may sound like a dumb question but have you accidentally set the camera to manual focus? Did you get the green focus confirmation light in the viewfinder? Dis you use a cable release on the first image? We could use a little more info to help diagnose the problem. If you are manually focusing, do you have the diopter set correctly. If all this is good, then I suspect there is a problem with the lens. Does this happen with all lenses? More info needed.

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12/10/2010 7:03:41 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Hi Lynn,
I would shoot this at about f/9 or f/11 and keeping the shutter speed up at 1/200 or faster. I would also have the boy in back lean toward the 2 people in front to get his face closer to the same plane as that will help to keep all the faces in focus.
I just shot 50 family portraits and shot them at f/9, ISO200 and 1/200 using my Alien Bees and had no issues. I also had many shots with the kids sitting in the chairs with the parents standing behind but if the parents were tall, it made for a gap between the kids heads & theirs so I would have the parents rest their arms on the back of the chairs to bring their faces down & in closer which also makes the family appear more intimate. Works like a charm :)
Hope this helps,

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12/11/2010 1:07:27 AM

Lynn A. Page   Thank you for your responses.

Gregory, I was also wondering if perhaps the subject might have moved slightly. It was almost impossible to keep his attention on the task at hand. I agree the second picture was to dark looks like I also switched my ISO from 100 on the first photo to 200 on the second. Lens used was the Canon 70-200 2.8L usm.

Randy, that would definitely make sense that I could have mistakenly left the lens on manual focus if I hadn't made a check of that before I started. Many of the pictures turned out great it was only the ones where I had the 3 subjects displaced and not all in close position with each other. Yes, I did use a cable release.

Carlton, I will try your suggestions on my next photo shoot. I was hoping to create a blurred background with the beautiful fall colors by using a lower F-stop. Sounds like you have been pretty busy.
On another subject we had a bit of a close call on our trip to Seattle, someone broke into our rental car down by Pikes Market, we returned to find our camera equipment backpack (which we had locked in the trunk) laying open in the back seat. Much to our surprise and amazement they didn't take anything but a small pocket camera. What a beautiful part of the country you live in.

Thanks again everyone for your help and suggestions.

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12/11/2010 3:19:07 PM

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