How to Choose the BEST Focus Point for Every Photo You Shoot Outdoors (VIDEO)

One specification that's important to many photographers when shopping for a new camera is the number of focus points available. But do you really know how to choose the best focus point(s) at your disposal when shooting different types of images? If not, read on.

Instructor Mark Denney is a prolific landscape photographer with an uncommon set of skills, as he's equally adept with the camera as he is behind the computer. In this important 12 minute episode he explains how he determines the best focus point for perfectly sharp photos depending upon the subject at hand.

Denney notes that, "image sharpness and focus points are topics that attract a lot of attention which is interesting as they both go hand-in-hand." As you'll see, the camera's Focus mode setting, the specific point you select, and the size of that point, will typically need to be adjusted depending upon the subject you're shooting.

This helpful lesson covers all this and more so that you can achieves the sharpest results possible for your particular genre of photography. One key consideration is understanding exactly where to focus within the frame, and that determination can be radically different depending upon whether you're shooting landscape scenes where maximum depth of field is desired, or wildlife images that include single or multiple subjects.

If your ultimate goal is the former, and you want sharpness front to back, Denney says, "placing the focus point a third of the way into your scene is generally a great way to start." Of course this equation is affected by the f/stop you choose, and a firm understanding of how hyperfocal distance works can be very helpful.

Before moving on to focus-point selection, Denney provides a basic review of the various Focus modes available on modern digital cameras. While every model is a bit different, and nomenclature varies from one manufacturer to the next, the three primary modes are Single AF, Continuous AF, and Manual focus where everything is up to you.

The video then moves on to the various types of focus points options, and the corresponding and sizes available, which is the real meat of this episode. You'll see how making the best choice is related to the Focus mode in use—and as previously mentioned, the specific task at hand.

Denney explains why and when you'll want to select a single focus point, a specific group of points, or all of the points offered by your camera. You'll also see how to move a single point within the scene and increase or decrease its size to suit your needs. According to Denney, the single-point approach offers "ultimate control," which is why many of use aren’t too concerned about how many points are available when shopping for a new camera.

There's much more to learn in this interesting episode, and on Denney's instructional YouTube channel. And, on a related note, be sure to check out the tutorial we posted from another accomplished pro who demonstrates his approach to capturing precisely focused landscape and wildlife photographs.