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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 41 of 51

Manual Focus

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

41. Manual Focus
Modern autofocus systems have come a long way -- yet there are some subjects that still work best using manual focus. See what subjects work best with this setting -- and how to manually focus the camera.


Lesson Info

Manual Focus

Although we have come to rely more and more on auto focus, there are a few scenarios when it works against you photographing wildlife. Often, I find my subjects were obscured by objects in the foreground, which the camera seems intent on focusing on. In fact, if you've ever tried photographing wildlife, you have discovered the animals carry with them a stalk of grass that they hold up in front of their face whenever a camera is pointed at them. A good example is an animal in a savannah. Take this image. The camera was constantly focusing on the grass and never on the lion. Switching to manual focus enabled me to focus accurately on the lines I before she moved on and the opportunity was lost. Another time I might use manual focus is when photographing a landscape just like the number of points available in modern cameras. You can guarantee there is never one in the exact point in the viewfinder. You need it if I've composed a scene with my camera on a tripod, which, of course it should...

. Bay is often quicker and more convenient to switch to manual focus. Macro photography is another area where manual focus is often a better solution because cameras sometimes stroll to focus automatically at very close distances. There are also times when auto focus simply doesn't work in low light. It may be too dark on because some cameras, relying contrast to retain focus. If there's no contrast, there is no focus. Try focusing on a clear blue sky and you'll see what I mean. In all of these cases on whenever the lens goes into permanent hunt mode, that is when the camera cannot attain focusing the lens keep searching back and forth to in closest focus distance and Infinity Manual Focus provides the quickest, most accurate way to focus the camera. So in most situations, auto focus is your best option, however, is not always the Holy Grail. And there are times when doing it the old fashioned way will save you time and make sure you get the shot that you want. I don't know

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!