How To Focus Accurately

How to Focus Accurately- this guide is so helpful! Made me fall in love with my 50mm lens!


I LOVE my 50mm lens. It allows me to photograph things in low light, it creates a wonderful, softly blurred background that is perfect for craft and food shots, and it was really inexpensive (as far as lenses go). The only negative thing I hear constantly from bloggers using a fixed point lens like a 50mm is that they don’t know How To Focus Accurately.

I’ve had a few people ask about their problems focusing while using fixed point lenses- and I myself have had some major frustrations with them the past. Don’t give up though- there are some easy solutions to get your shots perfectly in focus.

If you don’t have a Canon, please refer to your camera’s manual to find out how to switch your camera’s focus point. I am illustrating how on a Canon, as that is what I shoot with.


Changing the focus point is different on each camera, and your instruction book will tell you how.  On many models, the manual AF point selection is only available in aperture-priority, shutter-priority, manual and program mode, not the fully automatic (green) or subject modes. Make sure you select one of these exposure modes before you press the button on the far right of the back of the main hand grip to activate the focus point selection.


Once the manual focus point selection is activated you can change the active focus point by using the four direction buttons on the rear of the camera. The active point is shown in yellow on the rear LCD screen, and also indicated in the viewfinder.

This will tell your camera to send it’s autofocus in the point you selected. It will still do the actual focusing work for you, but in the specific point you pick from the camera’s view plain.

This will allow you to get quick, easy focused shots of your crafts, favorite people, or landscapes- without having to turn your lens on to manual focus (which can be really shaky if you aren’t using a tripod).

You can always switch your lens to manual focus (there is a small button on the lens itself which will allow you to do this), but if you do, you should use a tripod as it is pretty hard to get a clear shot without one using manual focus.

This may seem like a tiny fix, but it will save you a ton of time! Since using the manual point autofocus, I have not had to re-shoot a craft setup over and over when I need a low f-stop due to low light. It takes some of the hard work off the camera to know exactly where to focus! All you need to do is line up your product and click!

And to make it even easier, I shot a video showing just how to use the focus plane selection (I called it focus lock in the video, I was so nervous- but this is actually called locking your focus plane.)

How easy was that? Be sure to hold down the focus button to makes sure your subject is all lined up with your focus point and shoot away! If you need to recompose your shot but keep your subject’s features in focus, focus on it first using the manual focus point, and keep holding the button down until your shot is perfectly composed.

For more tips and tricks to get fabulous photos, please check out the Photography section here on Snap, and on my site, Sweet C’s Designs!


  1. Very helpful, thank you! I stink at taking photos and can use all the advice and tips I can get my hands on!

  2. Great advice.. Also on the Canon (don’t know about the Nikon), if you hold down the focus point selection button, you can actually toggle through them with the roller wheel.. a lot easier than using the arrow buttons if you have it up to your face. :) Just wanted to share an additional tip.

  3. I also switch sometimes switch to LCD view where you can move the focus box around to anywhere you want. My biggest issue with my new 50mm lens is that I don’t have quite enough space to get all the angles I want, so I am constantly switching lenses…. frustrating.

  4. Awesome tips! Thanks for sharing, Courtney!

  5. So helpful! Thank you-the video was great as well, short and to the point!

  6. Some GREAT, info here!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. great advice and you broke it down so easily! Thank you!!

  8. thecraftyblogstalker says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I am going to try what you just suggested the next time I use my camera

  9. I’m just getting into photography and this is very helpful. I need all the tips I can get. Thank you.

  10. Beginner question: What is the point of all the focus points if all you have to do is hold your button down and wait for it to focus on your subject, and then move the camera to where you want your subject in the viewfinder anyway? Thank you; I’ve been confused about this…

  11. Thank u…easy to follow instructions…never enough info to best tell my stories through pictures…????

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