Fundamentals of Photography

Lesson 43/107 - Focusing Q&A


Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Focusing Q&A

Alright, John, I do have a number of questions that have come in. Let's address these. For this section, so thank you for pausing. Okay, the first one was from Amanda Ellis. Do all cameras have group focus points? I think all cameras that I have seen have a group focusing point. And when you put the camera in that green auto box mode, that's generally what's activated. But even if you're in a manual mode, you can use the full big box if you want. Great. So, there are some questions and conversations around using auto focus continuous, and a single point, and why would you not have that on all the time? Like, if your subject was maybe gonna be moving, and then stopped. Right, well, it is possible that you could leave your camera in continuous all the time. If I am focusing on a person, and I'm using continuous, what's gonna happen is you will hear the lens or the camera just constantly trying to get sharp focus. And what you want it to do, is just get it and stop. So, that the...

re's no other sort of movement. So, it might have some movements while the photograph is taking. Now, the other thing is if you want to get your subject off frame, the only way to do that with continuous is a focus lock button. So, you would have to lock focus, and move it off. And that just means you need to have good finger dexterity in order to do that. And that is a good option if you were going to be doing bird photography. The problem with what they were asking was they were talking about using a single point. I challenge you to use a single point on small bird flying. It's gonna be very hard to keep that single point on the bird flying. It's gonna be much larger to keep a big target on that bird. And then when it lands on the post over there, you press in the lock button, and then you can recompose and put that bird off to the left or the right hand side. And so that can work very well for certain types of photography. So, a quick question about focusing when you're using like a soft timer button or option. I mostly shoot food, so usually my subject isn't moving. But sometimes I wanna set up my tripod and have my hands in a shot. Or take a picture of me holding something. And I have a really hard time getting the focus that I want. So, if you're using a self-timer, I'm guessing the camera is on a tripod, right? Yeah. Yes. You should probably be manually focusing. Or you could back button, focus ahead of time. And that way when you press down on the shutter release, the camera's not gonna try to refocus on you. And so you could focus on your subject, recompose to the way that you want it to, lock the tripod in, set the self-timer, press the shutter release, and now it's not gonna focus because it's in back button focusing. Alright, we've got a lotta people having aha moments about back button focusing. We're really excited to get out there and try it. So, some of these might just be clarifications for you. So, from blind baby, if you're using back button focus, do you have to keep the back button pressed in for continuous focus? Yes, you do. And so this, for normal standard single focus, you would press it for as long as it takes to get that focus in. For continuous, you would leave it pressed the entire time. Let me share a quick story with you. The Seahawks photographer is a professional football photographer. He uses the top of the line gear, and he knows exactly what he's doing. And he talked about his focusing technique. He uses back button focusing. And he's got the running back coming towards him, but he can see out of the corner of his frame, when a referee or player is gonna cross in front. What he does is he's focusing, he's shooting photos, he will lift off of the focus so that it stops trying to refocus on the player or the ref that's interfering. He keeps taking photos. When the player has cleared the frame, he continues pressing down on the focus, so that it reengages, and he does this all in a (snapping) bit of time. And so that's when I talk about the skill levels of focusing. When you get involved with the subjects that you know, and you get to know the equipment that you work with, that's how he figured out the best technique. And I'm like, wow, that's good. From Keri March, okay so, when recomposing after focusing, so focus and recompose, and then checking the focus point on your LCD screen, is there a way to show the real focus point as opposed to where you focused and recomposed? If you focus and recompose, let's say you used the center point for focusing. You focus on a subject, and you recompose, you use the center point for focusing, so that is the real focusing point. So, you're not gonna be able, the camera will not know what you were choosing to be the primary subject. So, no. There are a number of cameras, I believe, Canon and Nikon and there may be some others, that will show you as an option in the playback. When you play back an image, there's a lot of different information options. It'll show you an overlay of the focus points that either you or the camera chose to focus on. And I don't recommend using those, just 'cause it kind of clutters up the frame. But for people who are new to photography, or new to a particular camera, and you're learning how that camera works, you could choose all the focusing points, focus on a bunch of stuff, and go, oh, I see what the camera picked up on. And you start learning on how the camera works. And so it's good for a learning process on that, but yeah, that would be tricky where the camera just doesn't know. 'Cause you might have been focusing on something where there is no focusing points. Great, thank you. And so, this is for Dem Bartiz, who says, okay, I'm confused about the difference between back button focus and auto focus lock. Alright, so back button focus activates the focus. And auto focus lock holds it wherever it happens to be. And so, if you are focusing. And the back button lock would typically only really be used in continuous focusing. So if you're continuously focusing on a subject, and you occasionally want to pause it, you can press the AF lock button. And just, while I think about it, just options, when you get some of the bigger lenses, they have programmable buttons out on the lens, and you can program that as your focus lock button. Out there. Or your activation button. But the back button focusing can be used for single or continuous. The lock is typically only used for locking the continuous focusing.

Class Description

As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for your photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.


1Class Introduction 2Photographic Characteristics 3Camera Types 4Viewing System 5Lens System 6Shutter System 7Shutter Speed Basics 8Shutter Speed Effects 9Camera & Lens Stabilization 10Quiz: Shutter Speeds 11Camera Settings Overview 12Drive Mode & Buffer 13Camera Settings - Details 14Sensor Size: Basics 15Sensor Sizes: Compared 16The Sensor - Pixels 17Sensor Size - ISO 18Focal Length 19Angle of View 20Practicing Angle of View 21Quiz: Focal Length 22Fisheye Lens 23Tilt & Shift Lens 24Subject Zone 25Lens Speed 26Aperture 27Depth of Field (DOF) 28Quiz: Apertures 29Lens Quality 30Light Meter Basics 31Histogram 32Quiz: Histogram 33Dynamic Range 34Exposure Modes 35Sunny 16 Rule 36Exposure Bracketing 37Exposure Values 38Quiz: Exposure 39Focusing Basics 40Auto Focus (AF) 41Focus Points 42Focus Tracking 43Focusing Q&A 44Manual Focus 45Digital Focus Assistance 46Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF) 47Quiz: Depth of Field 48DOF Preview & Focusing Screens 49Lens Sharpness 50Camera Movement 51Advanced Techniques 52Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance 53Auto Focus Calibration 54Focus Stacking 55Quiz: Focus Problems 56Camera Accessories 57Lens Accessories 58Lens Adaptors & Cleaning 59Macro 60Flash & Lighting 61Tripods 62Cases 63Being a Photographer 64Natural Light: Direct Sunlight 65Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight 66Natural Light: Mixed 67Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light 68Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light 69Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light 70Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light 71Quiz: Lighting 72Light Management 73Flash Fundamentals 74Speedlights 75Built-In & Add-On Flash 76Off-Camera Flash 77Off-Camera Flash For Portraits 78Advanced Flash Techniques 79Editing Assessments & Goals 80Editing Set-Up 81Importing Images 82Organizing Your Images 83Culling Images 84Categories of Development 85Adjusting Exposure 86Remove Distractions 87Cropping Your Images 88Composition Basics 89Point of View 90Angle of View 91Subject Placement 92Framing Your Shot 93Foreground & Background & Scale 94Rule of Odds 95Bad Composition 96Multi-Shot Techniques 97Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction 98Human Vision vs The Camera 99Visual Perception 100Quiz: Visual Balance 101Visual Drama 102Elements of Design 103Texture & Negative Space 104Black & White & Color 105The Photographic Process 106Working the Shot 107What Makes a Great Photograph?


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Vlad Chiriacescu

Wow! John is THE best teacher I have ever had the pleasure of learning from, and this is the most comprehensive, eloquent and fun course I have ever taken (online or off). If you're even / / interested in photography, take this course as soon as possible! You might find out that taking great photos requires much more work than you're willing to invest, or you might get so excited learning from John that you'll start taking your camera with you EVERYWHERE. At the very least, you'll learn the fundamental inner workings and techniques that WILL help you get a better photo. Worried about the cost? Well, I've taken courses that are twice as expensive that offer less than maybe a tenth of the value. You'll be much better off investing in this course than a new camera or a new lens. I cannot reccomend John and this course enough!