There surely is nothing worse than coming home from a shoot and seeing you have missed focus or you have parts of your photo out of focus when you intended for it to be in focus.
Getting a photo, which is in focus, is one of the most basic parts of photography. Unless you specifically use “out of focus” in an artistic way, it is absolutely essential to have the parts of the photo you want to show in focus. Having a bad photo in focus does not make the photo great, but having a great subject or scene out of focus breaks the photo.
The rule of thumb for landscape photography is to have everything in focus from front to back. It is not in all cases this is desirable, but it surely is more challenging to have everything in focus than not to have everything in focus.
The depth of the scene in front of you is completely intertwined with how you should approach focus, and there are three factors that you need to know off in order to get everything in focus from back to front. Your aperture, the distance between the camera and your foreground, and the focal length you use. The closer the camera is to the foreground and the longer a focal length you use, the more you have to compensate for the depth of field by closing down the aperture.
This means you easily can get everything in focus if you use a wide focal length and you do not have a foreground close to the camera. However, if you have a foreground close to the camera (like 50 centimeters,) you will have to close down the aperture quite a lot to have everything in focus from front to back. Likewise, the longer a focal length you use, while still working with a foreground the smaller an aperture you need to have to have everything in focus.
In the video above, I share both how I focus with my camera, different examples of scenes where I determine what aperture to use, and different approaches on where to focus in the given scene.