Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Tip.....Back button focus

Back button focus....what did I ever do before I knew about you???  Before I knew about this great function, I struggled mightly with my focus on moving subjects.  For example, a processional or recessional at a wedding.  I had a hard time getting my subjects to focus while using the shutter button as my focus button.  Well, those days are done thanks to this tip I learned, so thought I would share it with you here.

I shoot with the Canon 5D, and to set your camera:
1. under custom function #4 set it to #1: AE lock/AF (setting 0 is default)
2. turn your AF setting Al Servo and leave it there!
Normally, I try to put the focal point on the eye of my subject.  However, with a moving subject I like to focus on the largest part of the body, with a high contrast area.  For example, during processionals and recessionals  I will focus on the man's torso area between his black tux and white shirt.  

Back 1
I love that the shutter button is no longer my "focus" button!  And I love that when I am shooting a stationary subject, I can lock in the focus (push the * button with the focal point on the spot that I want in focus) and shoot away, even recomposing, and the focus will stay dead on.
Practice with this before you go out on a photo shoot!  It took me a little bit to get used to, but now I am much more confident that my pictures are in focus!!
Hopefully someone out there found this helpful! :)
photo of the camera and tip from Melissa Jill


  1. thanks for sharing! I had heard about this but wasn't sure how to go about doing it. so do you use it when you are shooting family pictures as well?

  2. Yes, always. Never take it off the mode, and use the back button as you would have used the shutter button before. It is now what you use to focus. Try it and you will love it.

  3. I did this for the longest time, than I tried to switch back to shutter focusing! Didn't work! I love it this way.