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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 37 of 51

Point of Focus

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

37. Point of Focus
Where do you place the focal point in an image? Pick up focusing tactics for stronger images in this lesson.


  Class Trailer
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2 Setting Up Your Camera Duration:05:25
3 JPEG or RAW Duration:03:11
4 Compression Duration:01:38
6 Module 1 Summary Duration:01:42
7 Applying White Balance Duration:03:41
9 Auto White Balance Duration:03:07
10 Module 2 Summary Duration:01:31
11 Controlling Exposure Duration:01:23
12 F Numbers Duration:03:06
14 Exposure Modes Duration:01:48
15 Too Little or Too Much Light Duration:02:34
16 Manual Exposure Mode Duration:01:37
18 Module 3 Summary Duration:01:40
19 ISO in Practice Duration:01:16
20 ISO and Noise Duration:05:03
21 An Acceptable ISO Duration:01:23
22 Module 4 Summary Duration:01:29
23 Metering Modes Duration:03:06
24 The Light Meter Duration:02:11
25 The Bucket Test Duration:02:12
26 How To Read Tonality Duration:02:32
27 Being Creative With Tone Duration:01:14
28 Exposure Compensation Duration:01:35
29 High Contrast Lighting Duration:03:39
30 Histogram Duration:02:06
31 Highlights Alert Duration:01:32
32 Never Underexpose Duration:04:16
33 Digital Exposure Mantra Duration:01:25
34 Module 5 Summary Duration:02:57
35 Focus Modes Duration:01:23
36 Autofocus Duration:02:59
37 Point of Focus Duration:02:35
38 Depth of Field Duration:02:41
39 Hyper-Focal Distance Focusing Duration:02:51
40 Focus Tracking Duration:04:19
41 Manual Focus Duration:01:57
42 Predictive Focus Duration:01:03
43 Summary Duration:02:32
44 Buying Lenses Duration:05:00
45 Summary Duration:01:45
46 Quality of Light Duration:01:32
47 Direction of Light Duration:01:52
48 No Such Thing as Good Light Duration:02:00
49 Final Word Duration:02:52

Lesson Info

Point of Focus

The obvious thing to focus on is the subject. But this raises the question. What is the subject? And while the subject, maybe the obvious thing to focus on, it's not always the right thing. For example, when photographing people or animals most of the time is critical, the ISA sharp because it's through the eyes, we make an emotional connection with subject. So when I'm photographing wildlife, I have to be attentive to the exact position of the focus sensor, making sure it's trained on the eyes and not, for example, on the chest or the nose. This becomes even more important when using a telephoto lenses, because increased focal length means reduced depth of field. The same approach applies in portrait photography. A great portrait reveals the character of the person being photographed through the eyes. If the eyes aren't sharp, the connection is lost because, as I explained, in Less and three of the third module, human beings focus their attention on objects at a sharp, and we ignore o...

bjects that a blurred If the eyes are blurred through poor focus technique, we ignore them, and we lose that all important connection. Moving away from wildlife animals and people in a landscape or cityscape. Everything in the image space may be the subject, which means everything needs to be sharp. In this instance, the focus point needs to be set on the point that gives the most depth of field very roughly 1/3 of the way into the frame. This is a technique known as hyper focal distance focusing, which I explain in detail in less and five of this module moving subjects need even more thought, because you have to anticipate what's going to happen, not just react to what is happening. For example, in this scene, a meta Faulcon re center photographing an eagle owl in flight. Now I know from experience that when the hour takes off, it will immediately drop towards the ground. If I position the out in the middle of the frame using the center a F point when it takes off, it will immediately drop out of the frame. So instead, I position the bird in an upper corner of the viewfinder. Setting one of the outlying focus senses is the active sensor. Now, when the hour takes off, it drops into the frame rather than out of it. and focus tracking kicks in To keep it in focus, you'll find out how to best use focus tracking in less than six. So it's important when focusing not to just point and shoot. Be attentive to which part of your subject or seen where sharpness is critical and make sure the active focus sensor is trained on that specific point.

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!