If you need glasses, taking good pictures might seem a little tricky. There are a few things you can do to make it easier.
Needing glasses—or even being totally blind—is not a barrier to taking great photos. You still need to understand the basics of exposure and composition. It’s just that using your camera and, in particular, focusing shots will be a bit harder. Let’s look at what to do.
Get a Camera with A Viewfinder and Adjust the Diopter
You might not know this, but the viewfinder on every good DSLR or mirrorless camera has a diopter-adjustment dial so you can adjust it to fit your eyesight. It’s the small wheel next to the viewfinder.
Adjusting the diopter of the viewfinder means you’ll be able to look through it and see everything as if you were wearing your glasses. All the information like shutter speed and aperture will also be sharp so, even if you can’t read the screen on the back of the camera, you can still see your camera’s settings.
The built-in diopter adjustments range from about +1 to -3, depending on your camera. If your prescription falls within that range, check out our guide to adjusting the viewfinder. If your prescription is stronger than that, don’t worry. Both Canon and Nikon offer additional viewfinder lenses. The best place to buy them is from your local dealer or a reputable online photography store like B&H.
Learn How to Use Autofocus Properly
The autofocus in modern cameras is incredible but, like all the “auto” features packed into your camera, it’s at its best when you’re in control of things. There’s quite a lot you can adjust with autofocus, from the mode (single, continuous, or hybrid), to the area that’s being used for autofocus (a single point, a zone, or the whole autofocus system), to how the autofocus reacts to different situations.
If you just leave your camera do its thing, autofocus will work some of the time, but if you take control, it will do what you want (pretty much) all the time. This is especially important if it’s difficult for you to review your images when you’re on location since you can’t just trust your camera to get the shot.
We’ve got a full guide on using autofocus properly so check it out. Once you’ve mastered your camera’s autofocus system, then you can shoot confidently knowing that what you want to be in focus, almost always will be.
Shoot at Narrower Apertures
The easiest way to avoid missing focus is not to worry about it. Photojournalists have long had a motto for getting the shot: “f/8 and be there.” In other words, if you set your lens to f/8 (as long as you’re not using a big telephoto lens) just showing up and pushing the shutter button will get you a sharp, usable news photo with enough depth of field to show the whole scene.
Missing focus is only a big problem in macro, portrait, sports, and wildlife photography. For lots of other fields—like landscape, travel, or street photography—you don’t have to worry anywhere near as much. By working at narrower apertures, you can relax and enjoy taking photos—all the while knowing that what you’re shooting is probably usable.
Use the Live View Screen and Zoom
This one’s a small tip, but you might not have thought of it. If you struggle to see the live view screen on the back of your camera, then use the zoom feature—there’ll be a button with a magnifying glass on it to activate it. It works both when you’re reviewing images and, as we covered in our article on manually focusing your camera, when you’re taking photos. By zooming in, you can blow the small details up as big as they’ll go on a 3” screen. It’s not ideal, but it may be enough for you to check what you need to check.
If great composers can be deaf, there’s no reason great photographers can’t have trouble seeing. Sure, things will be a bit more awkward, but by learning how to use autofocus or just making allowances for missing focus, you can still take incredible photos.
Image Credit: Wang Sing/Shutterstock