I've always felt bad for using auto focus. As if it means I'm not a good enough photographer. But I feel I have had an epiphany of sorts. Or at least figured out what suits me and makes my work better.
I used manual focus for filmmaking. 100%, no question about it. Luckily with this you can get the red lines (or whatever colour you choose) to help with knowing what is in focus.
For photography, I used to always use manual. It does help with more creative shots when you want the focus of the photo to be in the foreground or background. Autofocus won't recognise that and focuses on a specific subject closest to you/ within a particular distance based on the settings. I'll still use it occasionally for instance with these duck photos. I needed to be quick and I couldn't quite see where the focus was on the actual duck. To get a clearer shot, I chose autofocus in the end.
This photo is a manual focus- I wanted the foreground focused on the leaves, with the duck out of focus in the background.
Compared to this shot of the two ducks. I used auto focus- they were moving faster (as fast as a duck can waddle) but I wanted to make sure I got the whole body of in shot. I wanted the background still out of focus which was achieved with the settings of the f-stop, which if I remember was 5.6. This was the lowest the camera could go with the lens at 300mm, I think I had it at that length.
I've also realised that when doing my headshots- I really need to use autofocus. I always started the sessions manual. I look back on the photos in edit and they were blurry when on wide shot. Probably my eyes not able to see through the viewfinder. And I currently haven't found a way of having focus lines to use during photography. If anyone has any tips or recommendations, please comment or send a message.
It's a choice you need to make with every situation and I'll keep looking more into it all, but it doesn't make you any less of a photographer if you use autofocus. As for filmmaking- this is something else to discuss another time.