Focusing with self-portraits or group photos

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by MarcusM, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    One thing I have had difficulty in getting consistent results is with focusing for group photos and self-portraits.

    For group photos, while using the timer, what I have done in the past is, using AF and finding someone to focus on, I would lock the shutter by pressing it halfway until I hear the beep confirmation, then press it all the way down to trigger the timer so I can get back in the photo. I don't think that this retains the focus though, can anyone confirm?

    From doing some reading it looks like I need to put it on AF, get the lens focused, then switch to MF to retain the focus, then trigger the timer and get back into the photo, is this correct?

    Then for self-portraits, is the best option to place a stuffed animal or other object in place of me, focus using above method, then trigger timer and get back in position?

    Any other tips/advice welcomed.
     
  2. confucious

    confucious TPF Noob!

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    I"ve been doing exactly what you described - focus on something at same distance, then setting it to manual and so locking it. Or I just focus IN manual, then use the timer. Would be interested to learn if there are any tricks though.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Get a tape measure and use the distance scale on your lens. All while shooting in manual, of course.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are using a lens with a large aperture and DOF is shallow, focusing manually is out of the question and difficult under all circumstances. If you are off even a slight amount, your eyes are blatantly out of focus and your nose or neck are tack sharp... lol

    A few hints:
    For self portraits:

    - pre-focus the lens by placing something in the exact place where you are sitting, and THEN set the camera to manual focus so it no longer changes

    - its easier to position yourself better consistantly if you sit in the same area as opposed to standing in "about" the same area

    Portraiture in general:

    - Avoid shallow DOF for a couple of reasons in portraiture:
    A - ears and nose aren't lost in bokeh and...
    B - it makes it easier to focus if DOF is deeper (anything around F/8 is wise).

    - You may need higher than F/8 if you have many people wide/deep

    Another point... I find setting multi-strobe studio lighting to it's sweet spot a little easier with a smaller aperture than a more sensitive setting like F/1.4-F/4.
     
  5. Dubious Drewski

    Dubious Drewski TPF Noob!

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    Oh geez. I'm a master at this by now! For the self portraits I shot, I did what Jerry's describing here. I set up another tripod in the exact spot I wanted my face, then I put a piece of tape on the floor there. I then manually focused on the tripod, set 12 second delay, ran out, removed the tripod and held my head over the tape. Tada!

    (Why the hell can't cameras autofocus when they are put on timer? It would be obviously useful.)
     

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