It’s a very simple technique and something that virtually every digital camera (and most film cameras) have the ability to do. Here’s what you do:
- Pose your subject.
- When framing your subject put the central point of your frame on the point that you want to focus upon (the face of a person is generally the best point).
- With the subject’s face in the centre of your image half press down on the shutter button (not fully). This will tell the camera to focus on that point.
- Without letting go of the shutter (it should still be half depressed) move your camera to frame your shot as you want it (ie the person’s face doesn’t need to be centred now).
- Once you’ve got the framing right press the shutter the rest of the way and the shot will be taken with the right focusing even though the centre of your image might not be the person’s face.
This technique is not just useful for taking photos of people when they’re not central in your shots but can also be used in many other types of photography. For example in Macro shots when you want to place the insect or flower that you’re photographing off centre (using the rule of thirds) you might want to use focal lock. Similarly if you were taking a landscape shot but wanted to focus upon a house in the foreground that was off centre rather than the horizon you’d use this technique.
This technique is one that most people know but it’s something that beginners should master in the early days of their photography as it’s something you’ll use constantly. It might take a little practice but after a while it will become second nature to you