daisydawn_16 4:58am, 1 December 2010
I'm really struggling with my 50mm f1.4 lens. I can't seem to get my focusing down. It's always focusing on the subject's jacket thats slightly infront of the subject or it focuses on the background. I've had to throw out a lot of great pictures that were out of focus and it's frustrating. When I do finaly get that "one" shot I love the look! I like the bokeh that the lens gives and the sharpness of the subject, but it's not often that I can get it. Everyone says to keep practicing, but I don't see myself getting better with it. I just keep getting more frustrated. I primarily photograph children. Does anyone have any tips with this or a good website to refer me too. I'm at a loss!

Thank you so much in advance for you time!! :)
I had an extremely hard time focusing as well. I had to rely on autofocus, God forbid. Turns out I can't focus because I needed glasses. Never thought someone in their early 20s would all of a sudden need them, but a $6 pair of Dollar General glasses ad I am doing much better. Just a thought?
Ritakens PRO 7 years ago
I looked at some of your photostream and it looks like you are doing pretty good to me. Don't know your camera but on mine I can change where I want it to focus and center wieghted or spot. I see you are using center wieghted try changing some of the setup if you can.
Jayesunn Krump 7 years ago
When I photograph children it is always a challenge with that shallow depth of field.

What I did was I started shooting all of the time at the widest aperture I had. Just a ton of practice and you will get it down.

Keep in mind that when shooting at f1.4 you will have a good amount of unusable shots when photographing children. Give continuous focusing mode a try as well.


Vanished Twin: Photography
Splinters and Rust 7 years ago
Hannah Cary [deleted] 7 years ago
When I photograph children I use "manual selection" in auto focus.

That way you just select one focus point and always center that point to the childs eyes. It's quick and easy to change for when you go from horizontal to vertical too. And with plenty of selections you should be able to capture the kiddies with focussed eyes in any frame.
The_Catcher_Photography [deleted] 7 years ago
Agreed with above, I never use the automatic selection for the focus dot, get used to rotating it around, I always choose my focus point with the dial, I find the camera picks the wrong spot about 25% of the time.
~Sara H~ 7 years ago
You don't HAVE to use it at f1.4. If you're struggling, close it up a bit.
alexv1n 7 years ago
I use manual focus point and make sure I focus on the subject's eyes. Dark pupil normally has a decent contrast for autofocus to pick up quite easily...
urodziny 7 years ago
try this: select some focusing point on the side of the viewfinder and aim at the nearest eye + continuous autofocus mode (continuous mode dramatically increased number of my in-focus shots). good luck
Evan Schwanke 7 years ago
Pick your focus point
Ed O_o PRO 7 years ago
If you close the aperture up a bit you'll get a less shallow depth of field and find focusing easier.
idreamofphotos 7 years ago
I have the same problem, so you are not alone! I think my solution is going to be switching to an autofocus lens, I feel your frustration!
Hey I'm Just Taking Pictures Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Hey I'm Just Taking Pictures (member) 7 years ago
Also you can try to move back a little. the thing i didn't realize with i used my 50mm 1.8 is that it has a very shallow Depth of field DOF. if you can have your subject within a certain distance then you can calculate distances where your subject are sharp with the bokeh you are looking for.

try this dof calculator and then setup your scene in a way that would help you get the sharpest of shots.


for example if you are shooting with your 50mm @ 1.4 and your subject is only 5 feet away...then your DOF is only 0.16ft which if i calc correctly is only around 1.9 in...so u better be fast cause children move fast :)

Subject distance 5 ft

Depth of field
Near limit 4.92 ft
Far limit 5.08 ft
Total 0.16 ft

In front of subject 0.08 ft (49%)
Behind subject 0.08 ft (51%)

Hyperfocal distance 305.4 ft
Circle of confusion 0.019 mm
The_Catcher_Photography [deleted] 7 years ago
Idreamofphotos, what do you mean switch to an autofocus lens? the 50mm f1.4 is an autofocus lens? For Canon anyway, I assume for Nikon also??
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