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Beginner Photography Guides

Learn the basics of photography
Back Button Focus for Nikon
A few years ago I read about separating my focus button from my shutter release button. It was recommended to me by a fellow sports photographer. I was skeptical at first, but now that have used the b Continue Reading
Is Photo Journalism dead?
There are many types of professional photographers that have been hurt by the fact that just about everyone has a camera in their pocket, but probably none of them have been hurt more than the photo Continue Reading
Win a Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III
Do you want to win a Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D Mark III? These are both phenomenal DSLRs and SnapKnot is giving one of them away to a lucky winner. SnapKnot.com is a site that allows you to find a w Continue Reading
Flash Photography – A Beginners Guide
If you find using flash to be a frustrating experience, don’t despair. Flash photography is at least three times more complicated than ambient light photography. But when you come to understand all Continue Reading
Rule of Thirds in Photography
The rule of thirds is a compositional rule in photography. Meaning it's how you position your subject in your photo. The rule states that an image should be divided into nine equal parts by two equ Continue Reading
Shutter Speed – A Beginner’s Guide
The shutter on a camera blocks all light from exposing the digital sensor until you press the shutter release button. Then it quickly opens and closes, giving the sensor a generally brief flash of lig Continue Reading
Back Button Focus for Nikon

Back Button Focus for Nikon

A few years ago I read about separating my focus button from my shutter release button. It was recommended to me by a fellow sports photographer. I was skeptical at first, but now that have used the back button for focusing I can’t imagine shooting photos any other way. Bellow you will find a short tutorial on using the back button focus for Nikon

What is Back Button Focusing?

Under Nikon’s default settings the shutter release is pressed half way down to initiate auto focus. The shutter release button generally performs three functions. Auto focus, metering, and shutter release. Back button autofocus makes it so the shutter button does not control the focus at all. Instead this functionality is moved to the back of the camera.

How to setup the back button focus button?

Step 1: Go into your custom settings menu

Step 2: Select A (autofocus)

Step 3: Select A5 (AF Activation)

Step 4: Choose AF-ON only

Now your AF-ON button or AF-L, AE-L button is used focus and the shutter release button will only release the shutter.

D700 AF On Button

Nikon D5000 back focus button

Why use the back button to focus?

Separating the act of focusing with taking the actual photo has several advantages. You can select your focus point, focus on your subject, then recompose without losing your original focal point.

Another advantage is pre-focusing on a particular point. There are time when I know where I want my focus to be, but my subject is not in that location yet. I will focus on the location then start tracking my subject. When my subject comes into the area that I pre-focused on I hit the shutter release. If my shutter release button was also trying to focus I may get an out of focus shot especially on low light situations.

Also when I shoot sports like football I may focus on a single player. I will often follow the player while he executes the play. There are times when I notice another player will cross in front of the player I am tracking. When I use the back focus button I can release the button when the other player crosses in front of me. I lose focus lock on my original player, but the advantage is reestablishing a focus lock is much quicker. Imaging if the player I am trying to shoot is 40 yards away and the player that crosses in front is 3 yards away. It may take a while to jump from focusing at 40 yards to focusing at 3 yards and then back to 40 yards.

Back button focusing issues

Trying to use the back button focus to recompose your shots work well in many situations, but you need to be mindful of your depth of field. Shooting with a large aperture (small f-stop number) will result in a shallow depth of field. Recomposing may make your shot out of focus.

Moving to using the back button for focusing will take time get used to.  It will feel odd at first, but stick with it.  In my opinion it is worth it.

Is Photo Journalism dead?

Is Photo Journalism dead?

There are many types of professional photographers that have been hurt by the fact that just about everyone has a camera in their pocket, but probably none of them have been hurt more than the photo journalist. Newspapers, magazines, and even TV news programs are looking for action photos showing an event as it occurs.  The people capturing theseContinue Reading

Big changes at Flickr

Big changes at Flickr

Have you seen the new Flickr? They have made some big changes over at the Yahoo owned company. Just after Yahoo announced its $1.1 billion dollar acquisition of Tumblr, it rolled out an all new version on Flickr. So what’s new? Flickr’s web interface is totally different. It is much more clean and simple. TheContinue Reading

Sony RX100 Case

When looking to for a case for your Sony RX100 there are server options.  The Sony RX100 Case made by Sony is an excellent option, but there are other options as well.  There are several Sony knockoffs sold on eBay like the ones below. The official Sony RX-100 Case is a wonderful case and is toughContinue Reading

Canon 7D Settings

The Canon EOS 7D is a wonderful crop sensor camera, however the Canon 7D Settings can be a bit overwhelming for the beginner.  In this article I will walk you through some of the Canon 7D Settings.  This guide is intended to get you started on setting up your 7D.Continue Reading

Canon 7D Manual in PDF

Below is the Canon 7D manual in PDF format.  This is am excellent resource to have with you at all times.  Feel free to download the manual or bookmark this page for later reference. Canon-EOS-7D-Owners-Manual

Canon teleconverters – what, how, why

What are teleconverters? They are a camera lens designed to be fitted in front of a standard lens to increase its effective focal length. They mount to the DSLR body and your lens mounts to the teleconverters. They are also called tele-extenders, T-Cons, TC, or extenders. Canon makes four teleconverters, in versions MkII and latestContinue Reading

Waterproof Camera or Waterproof Case

Are you going on a vacation and wondering what waterproof solution is the best?  Do you take a waterproof camera or do you already have a nice point-n-shoot camera that you could just buy a case for?  I recently went though the same decision-making process so here are a few thoughts. Waterproof Camera or Waterproof Case A waterproofContinue ReadingContinue Reading