Lesson 102: Better Focus

Smartphone Cameras generally do an excellent job of focusing on the correct subject of your photograph. But how do you change the focus point when your smartphone gets it wrong?

In Smartphone Camera lesson 102, you will find out how to change the focus allowing your intended subject to be in focus.   

Before we get started, grab a hold of your smartphone, open the camera app, and follow along.  All smartphone cameras will have the functionality I describe, yours might look different. If you know the functionality exists, you can find it, figure out how to use it, then practice it so it becomes an action you can take when the great picture you want to take presents itself.  


I have found three common situations requiring the selection of camera focus.

  • There are objects in the foreground and background, I want the camera to focus on one of them.
  • I want to focus on a subject and then move the camera to recompose the photograph.
  • There is an action I want to photograph, but it happens too quickly for the camera to focus and capture the image. 

Setting the focus point is easy; just touch the screen where you want the camera to focus. That's it.  Easy Peasy.  If the camera doesn't clearly focus, you might be too close to the object; back away a bit until it is in focus.

While we are on the subject, turn on your camera, get very close to an object, and move in and out until you find the minimum distance your camera needs to focus clearly. Good information to have for future use.  Switch to Macro Mode if you need to get even closer to the object. Macro Mode will be the focus of another lesson.

An Icon similar to the one on the left will appear when you tap the screen. The UNLOCK means you are focused on where you touched the screen, but the focus will automatically readjust in a moment or two. If you tap and hold, the LOCK will appear and the icon changes color. Focus will stay "locked" until you take the picture allowing you to recompose your image.   The line with a sun icon is used to adjust the brightness of your image, the subject of an upcoming Lesson.

Grab your camera and lock the focus, then see how long the lock remains. Mine stays locked until I take a picture or move to a different application. 

Focus lock also works for fast-moving objects.  You will need to focus on an object that is the same distance from you as the fast-moving object will be. This one takes a little practice to get the focus point right and to learn how much of a delay there is between depressing the shutter button and your camera taking the picture.


Combine the use of the self-timer function and focus lock when recomposing your image giving you additional time to steady your smartphone camera.