Getting the Best Focus in Family Photos

On this quick video, photographer (and Nikon ambassador) Tamara Lackey takes a look at shooting a family in a group image and still getting everybody in sharp focus.

When shooting a single person it is relatively simple to get him or her in focus if they are standing still (unless you are shooting from the hand with a very fast lens for example). However when you are shooting a group of people things can be a little more complicated at times.

The main issue is that the plane of focus – especially when shooting wide open can be too small for the space between some of the people you are trying to shoot – so you will end up with one or more of the people in the image out of focus (As Lackey demonstrates with the two girls in the video).

You can stop down to  get everybody in focus but if you do that your background won’t be as blurry as you might like it to so your other option is to ask your subjects to move to the same plane of focus which is what Lackey did in the video). A third option which is complicated and might not always work is to shoot several images very quickly with different focus (one on the close subject and one on the further away one) and than combine the images using a technique called focus stacking. This will work only if you and your subject did not move between the shots and thus is usually more common with static subjects – but it can sometimes work with people as well.

You can find many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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