In this article, I will tell you how to focus in night photography.
Did you face when the camera keeps hunting for a focus spot but do not pin it? Focus ring twisting back and forth, trying to focus but cannot nail focus.
This is a widespread problem in night photography. Fear not, my friend, you can do this.
There are many options. I will show you the simplest of them.
- Use Live View.
- Use a flashlight or laser pointer.
- Manually focus.
- Find the hyperfocal distance.
- Find contrast detection.
In fact, there is much more option for focus in night photography but they are very hard and not so effective such these.
Where should I focus in night photography?
This depends on the scene, focal length and some factors.
If you capture the foreground you should focus on it. Focus on the stars for Milky Way capturing. The bright spot is the perfect subject for focus.
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5 best methods how to focus in night photography
Let’s look at these methods.
Use Live View
Live View sees better in the dark than you and uses it. You can see the subject and enlarge it if necessary.
However, you're able to see more of the landscape and find the best point for focus. Besides, you can use +/- button and zoom in on the preview to clearly see the detail.
Use a flashlight or laser pointer
The flashlight is a very useful tool in night photography. A flashlight helps you nail focus, set up a camera and find equipment into your camera bag too.
Using a flashlight is very easy. Highlight the foreground and focus on it.
Sometimes, Live View, the flashlight does not help you. The best way to focus is to manually focus.
By the way, manual focus is needed in order to defocus the camera if you take several photos. Bracketing or changed the shutter speed. I'd recommended checking autofocus results using the manual method.
Find the hyperfocal distance
This is probably the most exotic way to take a sharp photo today.
Modern lenses do not have a convenient scale for manual focus. But if you decide to try it, you should pre-calculate the hyperfocal distance for all focal lengths.
I mentioned this way of focusing because everyone writes that this is a great way. But this is not so. Use it only on older lenses with a focus scale.
Hyperfocal Distance gives you the best depth of field.
Find contrast detection
This is a very good way to focus on.
If the skyline is still bright, the building is highlighted or there is a settlement in the distance, the camera will focus.
I don't have Live View! How can I focus in night photography?
All of the above focusing methods work for any digital camera.
Live View simplifies the process and nothing more. Digital photography is that shooting is free. Get a free do-over and zoom in on the preview to clearly see focus.
Read more NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY SETTINGS