AF 026.

Broadway & Houston Street | 19:05

This reminds me of a recent conversation I had with a fellow fashion blogger about photography techniques; she was quite shocked when I told her that I never use autofocus. Somehow this also reminds me of a little fact that I’ve noticed: among all photographers who share their work on the internet, fashion/wedding photographers are the least likely to actually talk about their techniques, camera settings or technical approach. I suppose on one hand, with all of the competition out there it’s reasonable to see why one would be reticent. On the other hand, some of the most successful blogs out there involve the author engaging with his or her readers. As a blog that I like to see evolves, I’m very much interested in the author’s evolution just as much as the that of the content. Back to shooting–I don’t like autofocus because at my aperture settings in the evenings it’s not reliable for the type of photos that I want, and so never use it. But in the early days of Lord Ashbury, it might have taken me 5-10 seconds to get a decent focus manually, and even then I could never be sure. I’d have to take between 9-15 frames of a person to make sure I nailed it. These days I’ve become handy at walking, focusing and snapping all within three seconds or less, one frame in most cases. This has enabled me to get more photos of the “now you see it/now you don’t” variety, like this one. The best stuff lingers but for a split second.

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  • http://www.cyclelove.net James

    I want (well, need, when using my 50mm prime) to switch to manual focus, but don’t have the balls.

    It was reassuring to hear that it took you a while though – thanks for being frank.

  • Maryanne

    This is photo is quite vogue!

  • Iris

    Hah! I tried using manual focus on my Canon a few times but it was a disaster to say the least! Do your lens have autofocus and if so, why did you start doing it manually?

    • Simbarashe

      I have autofocus lenses, yes. In studying the photos I most admired, I found that the autofocus didn’t get me as close to that type of quality as I wanted, er, needed to get. I believe all of the best photographers who shoot fashion use autofocus, so please don’t confuse me for being down on it by any means. Manual focus is simply my habit.

  • Ramandeep

    So interesting that you don’t use the autofocus!

  • Kenny

    well said i couldn’t have said it better myself. that’s pretty cool that you are about to manually focus so fast and still get such sharp images.

  • Michiko

    I love this!!!!!