We all love a picture where the subject is in focus without anything else in the picture distracting us from it. Like these:
The question is how do you get a shot like this with your little point-and-shoot?
Experiment with your focus.
If you have a basic point-and-shoot, you should at least be able to switch between auto focus, manual focus and macro. I’ll break it down really simple for you in this short article.
i. Auto focus
In auto focus you should have a focus box at the centre of the frame. It turns green when you have something in focus. When there’s nothing in focus, you get a red box to tell you that. To have some degree of control, learn to squeeze your shutter slowly. When half-squeezed, you should be able to know if your subject is in focus or not. Once you get a subject of a certain distance in focus, you are free to move your frame (still half squeezing the shutter) to compose your image. Focus is all about distance so anything within the depth of field will be in focus.
ii. Manual focus
With a DSLR it is you are a lot more in control when in manual focus. I can’t really say the same thing about my point-and-shoot. Shooting in manual is a great way to learn about focus and depth of field. You will learn how the zoom affects your depth of field. You will learn about how everything affects your image. You will also discover the magic distance you need to get the perfect image. What I love about manual focus is you are focus is independent of the subject distance (unlike auto focus). This is good for making stop motion videos like this:
I think this mode is really cheesy as it tricks you into thinking you can take good pictures. I’m not discouraging you but you should go beyond this. Macro sets a very short focal point which easily blurs out the background. You can get great close-ups but don’t hang in here for long. You wouldn’t want to be too dependent on it.