Tell me if this sounds familiar…
You frame up a portrait, you’ve ensured there’s a pleasing background, the subject’s wardrobe is on point, and they are smiling and looking good.
You think you have a winning shot.
Then you zoom in on the image, only to find dreaded soft focus.
What you thought was the perfect image with crisp, clean edges that are sharply in focus is actually blurry.
At least in my experience, so many other things that have gone right are for naught because nothing ruins a portrait like focus that’s not quite there.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that getting tack-sharp focus is a simple matter of trying one of many different techniques.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the best ways you can get the focus spot on in your portraits.
Focus on the Eyes
They say that the eyes are the window to the soul for a reason…
When taking a portrait, focusing on the subject’s eyes will render you the most pleasing result.
That’s because we naturally look at other people’s eyes when we converse with them, and the same holds true for viewing a portrait.
By focusing on the eyes, you ensure that the most important feature of your subject is tack-sharp.
Even if your depth of field is extremely small and other elements of their head (i.e. their ears or hair) are out of focus, the shot will still be one that viewers enjoy because they can actually see the subject’s eyes.
That concept is on display in the image above. Note how the model’s eyes are perfectly sharp, and even though the rest of her body is not, it’s still an image that reads well and is pleasing to view.