Beginner's Guide to Photography
The Half-Press: Focus and Exposure Lock
Control focus, exposure, and more with the half-press shutter button technique.

Introducing the Half-Press:
This is an easy yet essential skill for beginners to learn. The "half-pressed" button is helpful in many ways, including:

  • faster camera response time
  • more control over focus
  • encourages better composition

Using the half-press is easy, aim your camera directly at the subject and gently press the shutter release button until the camera comes "alive". If you want to take the shot, press down until the camrea fires.

Ready, Aim, Fire..
To use the half-press technique, think of it as a 3 step process.

1. Ready (Half-Press)
Point the camera at the subject and half-press. Wait for focus lock. While focusing, the camera will show a blinking focus indicator (usually a green dot). When you hear a beep and the indicator stops blinking, the camera is telling you it's ready to go..
   
2. Aim (Hold and Compose)
WHILE HOLDING the button at half-press, take time to explore the composition of the scene. The camera will remain at the ready with focus locked.
   
3. Fire (Full-Press)
Take the shot by pressing down until the camera fires. Only a gentle pressure is needed, be careful not to shake the camera.

What's it good for?
If the subject is somewhat off-centre, the auto-focus may be fooled. You have probably seen this effect many times before. A half-press will tell the camera that you're almost ready to take a shot and to be prepared, triggering the following things to happen:

Focus Lock
The camera will attempt to lock focus on the subject. The focus lock allows the photographer to freeze the point of focus BEFORE taking the photograph. This technique is crucial for exploring the art of composition with a point and shoot camera.

Faster Full-Press Reponse
when taking a shot, the camera will respond quicker from a half-press. The delay between pressing the button and the digital camera firing is called "shutter lag"