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Back Focus Button

When you depress the shutter release button slightly, your camera focuses.

Press harder, and you've taken a photograph.

The above works well in two situations.

1) You're taking one photograph of a subject.

2) You're taking many photographs of a moving subject.

If you're taking many photographs of a subject that isn't moving—why focus with every press of the shutter release?

On many DSLR cameras you can set a button on the back of your camera for focusing.

Let's say you're photographing chicks in an eagle nest.

Press the back button to focus.

The shutter release now only takes the photographs.

There's no refocusing with every press of the shutter release.

You're more likely to get the shot of the adult bird flying in with food for the chicks—because your camera no longer has to hunt for the focus.

Similarly, if you're doing a portrait, focus using the back button.

You're more likely to get the fleeting expression now that the camera doesn't need to focus for every photograph.

For Nikon DSLR cameras, go to Benefits of Using the AF-ON Button for Autofocus.

For Canon DSLR cameras, go to Back-Button Auto Focus Explained (2013).