Fix Your Focus Part One: 6 Factors That Affect Your Camera's Focus Performance

photography tips Jun 07, 2023
tips for better focus in your photography

You’ve had the most beautiful session: your light was lovely, your clients were dressed perfect, they laughed and played and it was just one of those magical sessions… But once you got to culling you noticed that you missed focus, like a lot! Ugh! We hear this from photographers often, and we decided that it was time for a whole blog post series to tackle the confusion and pin point the issue!

We cover all the “how to’s” of tack sharp focus in the Master the Light and Airy Style Course for professional photographers, but we hope this will serve as a resource to really uncover what factor might be giving you the most trouble! Let’s get started….



Up first: our cameras! All cameras are different and their ability to overcome different lighting scenarios and movement will vary, so it’s important to know what your camera can handle. Here are 6 factors that affect how your camera focuses:

 1. Light

How much or how little light you have can really impact your camera’s ability to focus. Specifically, you will have a harder time when trying to focus in very low light. If your camera can’t “see” well, it is going to struggle!

2. Focal point / Subject contrast

The lower the contrast, the more challenging it is to focus on the subject or desired focal point. You’ll notice this if you are shooting strong back light and have lens flare coming in. If any sun is hitting your lens, it's going to make it harder for your camera to lock in on that focal point!

3. Subject’s movement

We are talking about those wiggly kiddos here! We love to encouragement movement in our posing, but we know it’s going to demand more of our cameras! (We will talk about some tips on this later in this series).

4. Camera body's focus system

Again, all cameras will vary. Typically the more updated the camera (higher end/pro line), the better the focal system is going to be. The whole “you get what you pay for” really does apply here.

5. Camera's lens

Just like the body, the lens is going to play a role in our focus too. A pro line lens is typically going to focus much faster than a consumer line one.

6. Poor Technique

Using a focus system that isn’t accurate can cause many photographers to go crazy! Techniques like focus recompose will make nailing focus consistently an unlikely outcome! (We will go into depth with this in an upcoming post.)



If you are struggling, we recommend picking one of the factors and playing with it a bit to see if you get a different outcome. You might also pull up the images that you missed focus on and see what they have in common. Knowing this information will be the first steps towards sharp images every time!

PS. With these camera factors in mind you might be considering getting some new gear… Before you do, be sure to check out this post! It’s filled with great questions to help you process the best time to do this in your business! While new gear is great (who doesn’t love a fancy new anything!?) it’s not always necessary - contrary to what some might lead you to believe! Make sure your business choices are right for YOU!


Next week, in part two of our Fix Your Focus series, we will be diving deeper into achieving accurate focus in your photography!



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