Afternoon with my friends new baby

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Ok, so I FINALLY got to go see my friends new baby (After 4 months). She is amazing! Anyway I got a few shots I thought were.... OK.... I am still struggling with focus. I don't know what my issue is....

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As you said. . . definitely some focus needs here. My first thought was "nice camera, poor execution". What are your goals as a photographer?
 
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You are right, I am struggling. I was given a remarkable camera from my husband that I have no clue how to use. My goals as a photographer... to learn, to try and to have fun. I don't, by any means consider myself any good. I only figured out how to use my camera in manual mode..... yesterday.
 

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OrionsByte

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What focus mode are you using, and (if applicable) where are you placing the focus target?
 
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I am trying to focus manually and stop relying so much on the auto focus of the camera. After some research today, I think the issue is in the viewfinder? Perhaps I did not calibrate it properly? Or, maybe I should just go back to using auto focus for situations like this?

As for depth of field, I am working on that as well. DOF has been a struggle for me to understand, I am still hoping i will have a light bulb moment there as well.
 

OrionsByte

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I am trying to focus manually and stop relying so much on the auto focus of the camera. After some research today, I think the issue is in the viewfinder? Perhaps I did not calibrate it properly? Or, maybe I should just go back to using auto focus for situations like this?

As for depth of field, I am working on that as well. DOF has been a struggle for me to understand, I am still hoping i will have a light bulb moment there as well.

When focusing manually, make sure you're looking at the thing you actually want to be in focus, in this case, the eyes. There are elements of your shot that are in focus, but in most cases it seems to be a bit in front of the subject. For example, in the first two shots, the blanket under the baby's head is in focus, but you have really shallow depth of field, so the shot is no longer in focus by the time you "get" to the baby's eyes. In the fourth shot, the baby's right eye is almost in focus, but the left eye is not.

Personally, I like to experiment, so what I'd recommend is setting up some dominos, or soda cans, or beer bottles, or something, and put them all in a row so they're getting farther from the camera, focus on the middle one, and then take several shots of different apertures and review the results. At wide apertures (small numbers) you'll have a very small DoF and only the subject you're focused on will be in focus, and at small apertures (high numbers), there will be more in focus in front of and behind the one you focused on. You'll need plenty of light for this experiment so try shooting outside!
 

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I was thinking along the same lines, it might take a lot of practice.

If I'm finding it to be tricky sometimes I'll turn the lens barrel just past where it looks in focus, then turn it the other way, and turn little by little each way to make sure I have it as sharp as possible. In lower light/shade or anytime I'm having difficulty, I sometimes just stop and lower the camera and take a momentary break, then refocus.

With these you're on the right track, you might just need to keep working on how to focus, think about the backgrounds, if everything in the viewfinder is the way you want it in your photo; and maybe try different apertures so you can learn to figure out if you want your lens fairly open or not - having the lens slightly less open in these might have helped (although you might have been in somewhat lower existing light).
 

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