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focusing for flash

kphotoskphotos Member
edited February 2011 in flash & lighting
got any tips for focusing your subject in the dark for flash photography i can't seem to get my lens to focus in the dark


  • There are several ways to do this.

    1) The camera itself may have an AF-Assist light. Check your manual to see if it has it.
    2) Shine a flashlight on your subject and then focus. Then, turn off the light.
    3) A speedlight may have an AF-Assist light. This is usually red in color. Check your manual to see if it has it.
  • I actually wrote an article recently about focusing that might help, hope it's OK to link to it http://www.grahameariss.com/wordpress/?p=821

    The flashlight tip you mention is a good one Stephen if you are in complete darkness and if you use off camera speedlight with an assistant, they can hold the flashlight in one hand and a speedlight in the other. The flashlight also works like a modeling light and when you have locked focus you can tell them to turn off flashlight (they can just point it away from your subjects) and that way the direction of light is perfect and you only get your speedlight contributing to the exposure, good for freezing action.

    I saw this technique being used by Jerry Ghionis, great wedding photographer with some really cool techniques. Another of his I like is breathing on the lens to get a foggy look. I think that's an old one but I have seen him get really nice results from it.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Which flashgun and which camera do you have?

    Also keep in mind that in AF-S / Servo mode, the camera disables the speedlight's focus assist beam.

    On top of that, also keep in mind that some cameras disable the AF-assist from the speedlight if you use a focus sensor towards the edge of the frame.
  • The link above is broken. No article.
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