Nowadays most photographers rely on autofocus and some don’t really know how to focus manually. Mostly autofocus is very accurate and fast, but there are quite some occasions where autofocus just doesn’t work.
Here are some occasions where you should use manual focus
1. Focusing in low light
In low light conditions the camera can really struggle to find the subject and to focus on it. Autofocus can really become annoying when your camera keeps searching for a point to focus on. Especially when you have to be fast and you could mis the moment. That’s why I use manual focus for all my night photography.
2. Low contrast
The same goes for low contrast images. When your subject lacks contrast or it has the same tones as your background the auto focus system of your camera may have trouble to focus quickly and correctly. Also here manual focus is the best way to go.
3. shooting through obstacles
When shooting a flower amidst other vegetation or an animal behind wire meshes the autofocus will select the nearest object and you will mis focus. Whenever there is some kind of obstacle between you and the subject you want to focus on, manual focus is the best and easiest choice.
4. capturing out of focus images
Sometimes you just want the main subject out of focus to capture the mood of the scene. When you want the subject to be blurred your only option will be manual focus.
5. close up or macro photography
When shooting macros or close ups you want your focus point to be spot on. The slightest mistake in focusing will result in an image where you missed focus.
6. creating HDR or panorama images
When shooting HDR and panoramas you dont want to change your focus point between every single shot. No you want the focus to stay the same, otherwise it might ruin the end result. You want all images to have the same element in focus.
In the beginning manual focusing can be challenging. And sometimes you might doubt your focus. The real trick is to do it quickly without any hesitation.
Links to other free sections of the flower art photography masterclass
Introduction to Flower Art Photography (5 videos)
Mastering the Art of Effective Backgrounds
Composition for Flower Photography