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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 39 of 51

Hyper-Focal Distance Focusing

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

39. Hyper-Focal Distance Focusing
Because depth of field is a range of distance and not a single tiny point, photographers can focus on something that's not the subject and still get the subject sharp. To get the most sharpness in an image, try this hyper-focal distance technique.


Lesson Info

Hyper-Focal Distance Focusing

When focus extends to sharpness, you might decide not to focus on the subject at all. For example, in a scene where I want sharpness from foreground to background, I want maximum depth of field. And that means focusing on a point other than the subject. Sound odd? Well, let me explain. You'll notice that even at F 22 which is the narrowest aperture Aiken set on this lens, the Fifth Stone is still out of focus or I've increased depth of field. But I haven't managed to increase it enough to get depth of field from foreground to the very background. So how do we achieve that? Well, I want to introduce you to a totally scary, completely frightening phrase called hyper focal distance focusing depth of field extends 1/3 in front of the point of focus and 2/3 behind the point of focus now in this particular scene, because I have my point of focus on this rock here on this rock is right in the foreground. I am losing all of that 1/3. That's in front of the point of focus. So what happens if I ...

move the point to focus from this rock and I bring it instead over to hear the second rock. Now the Second Rock is roughly 1/3 of the way into the picture. So by focusing here, I'm gaining all of that 1/3 area of depth of field in front of the point of focus, which is enough to keep the first rock shop on. I've moved the 2/3 from over here, too. Here. We should be enough to get me all the way back to the Fifth Rock in the scene, and that is hyper focal distance focusing. So let's see how this works. So what I'm doing now is I've still got the camera set at F 22. That's a very narrow aperture in the narrowest aperture I can get on this lens, we'll give you the most depth of field. But what I'm gonna do now is I'm going to change the focus point across to that second stone in the line. Now, this should give me enough depth of field to get the first stone sharp, using the third of depth of field that extends in front of the point of focus. Andi, enough depth of field behind to get the 3rd 4th and fifth stone shop. So let's just see. And there, if you look at the photograph, we'll see that the first stone is still sharp, picked up by the depth of field extending in front of the point of focus. The point of focus is on the second stone, and then there's enough depth of field stretching back to the 3rd 4th and fifth stone. So, using hyper focal distance, focusing every stone from foreground to background is shop.

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!