Fix Your Focus Part Three: Which Focus Mode Is Best

photography tips Jun 21, 2023

We have been covering a 4 part series called Fix Your Focus! If you’re struggling with focus or just want to learn more behind all the pieces that go into it, we highly encourage you to start at the beginning of that series here. Having a foundational understanding of what is happening on all levels will really help you to make the best setting, posing, and even gear choices for YOU and your business! If you’re already with us… let’s keep going!

This week we are talking Focusing Modes! We have included both Canon language (first) and Nikon language (2nd) below.  (Did you know we shoot both in our business?!)  So what exactly are these modes? Let's take a look:


AI Servo/AF-C: This mode will tell the camera to automatically re-focus the subject continuously, as you press the shutter half way. Some cameras are better than others at this. Some people love using this mode for children since they move so much. For me, it throws me off as I want to be fully in control and not let me camera decide that for me as it doesn't know exactly which child I want to remain in focus. However, it's worth trying to see if you like it! 

One-Shot/AF-S: This is is what we always use and prefer as we like to be fully in control. When you press the shutter button halfway, the camera will focuses one time. However, you have to keep doing this for each photo. This is typically recommended for objects that are still, but with enough practice you can use this mode even with active toddlers!

AI Focus/ AF-A: This focus mode automatically switches between Al Servo/AF-C and One-Shot/AF-S for you depending if the subject is moving. This is widely known to be pretty inaccurate and will result in a lot of images completely out of focus. We highly recommend considering one of the other options for this reason!

Try putting your camera in each different mode and practice shooting a moving kiddo! Once you see how each mode acts differently you will be able to decide what mode is best for you and the clients you serve!

Next week we will be talking about the BEST focus method… chances are it’s not what you think!

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