Ask Noel: Why Won’t My Camera Take A Photo Sometimes?

Joel H asks:

“Every now and then my camera seems to refuse to take a picture. I can hear/see the autofocus moving, but it never seems to stop.”

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Most likely this is because the autofocus can’t find a subject to lock onto, therefore it won’t take the photograph.

In order for the autofocus to lock, it needs to be able to find lines, patterns, etc. If the autofocus tries to lock on something that doesn’t have those, like a blue sky, or a plain wall, or a person’s plain white t-shirt….it will never shoot.

SOLUTIONS:

1)CHANGE THE AUTOFOCUS POINT
Most cameras come from the factory set up so that the CAMERA automatically chooses the AF point. But you can change this so you can manually choose where it tries to focus.
-On a Nikon, you will need to go into your menu and set your AF area mode to SINGLE, then you can use the back D-Pad to change the point. You will see the point selected inside the viewfinder will be red.
-On a Canon, you will find this button on the back of the camera, to the right of the auto exposure lock button (*).

So for example, if you have a scene with a lot of blue sky, you can move the focus point to the bottom so it focuses on the landscape instead. Or if the camera seems to be trying to focus on a person’s shirt, move the point to the top so it focuses on their face.

Once you are finished shooting,set the point back to AUTO, or my personal preference, in the middle.

2)LOCK THE AUTOFOCUS SOMEWHERE ELSE
-Tilt the camera up/down or left/right so there is more of a subject to focus on, or gives the camera lines/shapes/patterns to lock onto.
-Push the shutter button down halfway until the camera beeps or notifies you it has locked the focus
-Keeping the button held down, recompose the scene as you wish, then push it down fully to take the photo.

This technique works great when you have the focus point set to the middle.

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