Photo Tips

How to Get Sharp Focus with Photos: Use This Fun Calculator

Me Ra Koh

One of the biggest questions we’re asked is How to Get Sharp Focus with Photos?

People are often told that the f-stop is what matters most.  Low f-stops are bad and high f-stops are good for group photos.

Not necessarily.  That isn’t how Depth of Field works.

The key is the distance between you and your subject.

This is me doing a photo shoot of Pascaline in Greece for our family travel show Adventure Family.

See how close I am to her?  If there was a group up there, and I was this close, it’d be tough to get them all in focus at f/3.2.  But if I stood farther back it would work.

If you’re shooting with a low f-stop for what I call a “buttery, blurry background”, the closer you get to your subject the less wiggle room you have to grab sharp focus.  If it’s a group photo, and you’re standing close to them–even tougher because you have a shallow depth of field.

But as you back up, you increase your wiggle room.

This is how I could take wedding group or family portraits and get everyone in focus at f/3.2 or lower.

The secret…

I was standing farther back to increase my wiggle room for sharp focus with a group.

This begs the next question, how do you know how far back to stand?

We found this nifty, fun calculator from PhotoPills to make it easier for you!

Also available in the app PhotoPillsEmbed it on your website

To Use the Calculator;

(Forewarning: This photo tip most is a little more advanced. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with some of our easier photo tip posts.)

Choose your camera body. (This tells the calculator if you’re camera is a crop or full sensor.)

Pick the focal length depending on the lens you’re using.  For example, if you shoot with a 24-70mm lens, and you’re often zoomed in half way, I would choose something in the middle like 50mm.

Where the calculator says UNITS, click on that box and choose INCHES.

Then pick the f-stop you like to shoot at.  For what I call “buttery, blurry backgrounds” you’re often going to be shooting at f/2.8 or lower.

Now you can slide the calculator and see how much room you have to answer How to Get Sharp Focus with Group Photos.

We have LOTS more tips for grabbing sharp focus, and a video where we explain this much more in depth.  To access this good stuff, join our FREE private CONFIDENCE Facebook Group!