3 reasons you should switch to back button focus

Stephanie Bryan Photography - 3 reasons you should switch to back button focus

Are you using back button focus (BBF)? It's a game changer when it comes to nailing focus and once you switch to BBF, I promise you won't go back.

What is back button focus (BBF)?

In a nutshell, back button focus is moving your focus button to the back of your camera. On it's default setting, your focus and shutter button are combined together in your front shutter button (the button you push half way to lock focus, then click the rest of the way to snap your photo).

Why should you switch to back button focus?

I was doubtful when I first read about BBF and it did take me a few days to get used to it, but I would never go back to having my focus and shutter buttons combined! Today I'm going to convince you to try it out!  

3 reasons for switching to back button focus

1. More accurate focusing

I'm sure you've had a time or two where you locked focus with your focus/shutter button + snapped your image, but your subject moved and the focus was missed altogether, right?? By reassigning your focus to a button on the BACK of your camera (the AF-ON button on back upper right of your camera), these two functions will work independently and you can easily change/re-focus/move, etc... without having to worry about your shutter button. This gives you full control over both your focus and shutter buttons and you can more accurately nail your focus.

2. Switch between single and continuous focus

With back button focus, you can easily switch between single focus (or locking your focus on your subject) and continuous focus (focusing on your subject for a period of time). When you have your subject in your frame, just focus on your subject (by pressing the BBF button) and the focus is locked. Obviously you would use this type of focusing on a still subject or a subject with minimal movement. For continuous focusing, press and hold the back button focus. The focus will lock on your subject and will track them as they move....which takes us to reason #3 (which is my favorite)!

3. Track a moving object

If your kids are like mine, they are always on the move! Always running, always jumping, sprinting at me, racing away from me.... With BBF, I can lock my focus on them and track them as they move, helping to get a more accurate focus. All I have to do is lock my focus, hold down the BBF button and snap away. The camera will track their movement and will refocus as they move closer or away from my camera. If you are using the default focus/shutter button option, you will have to continuously press your shutter button down half way and then try to snap your photo as they are moving. Some times you might catch that movement, but more times than not, your subject will move during that "in-between" moment and the focus will be off. 

Let's experiment!

If your camera is still set up to the default focus/shutter button system, grab a moving body and have them run towards you. Try to nail the focus of their movement for 8-10 frames (basically just snap away as they run towards you)! Chimp your images to see how many seem to be in focus. THEN - pull out your manual (or google the instructions for your camera type) and giving it a try. Now take that wild, crazy kid outside and have them run at you as you hold down your BBF and snap away for 8-10 frames. Chimp your images and see how many are in focus. Hooked yet??

looking for more inspiration + tips?