Self Timer


I was trying to shoot a self portrait using the camera’s timer. I always set the timer to 10 seconds so that I had enough time to get in front of the camera to have my picture taken. But after reviewing the shots I found some of them to be out of focus. What can I do to avoid this?
Simran Chandwani, Mumbai

This story was originally published in November 2014.

When you shoot a self portrait using a camera’s timer, most cameras focus on a subject when you press the shutter release and not when the timer goes off. So, when you set the timer and press the shutter release button, the camera focuses on whatever is in the center of the frame and when you enter the frame, you appear out of focus.

You can avoid this situation with a simple technique. Simply place an object in the frame, if you are shooting self portraits, or have someone hold out his or her hand where you intend to position yourself in the group. Once you press the shutter release, quickly recompose the frame and move into place.

If your camera supports Face Detection, you can use it for self-timed shoots. In some cameras when Face Detection is switched on, the focusing will occur after the timer countdown is over, rather than before. If there is ample light, you can shoot with a narrow aperture like f/8. With wide apertures, even the slightest mistake in focusing becomes very evident because of the shallow depth of field. But with a narrow aperture, the depth of field is less and the chances of a photograph going out of focus are less too.

Tags: January 2011, Question of the Day, Self timer, Self Portraits, Face detection, Focusing