04. Focus

To get a decent picture it normally needs to be sharp and in focus. You may think this is simple – the camera does it all for you right? But how does it do it when its dark or simply isn’t working how you’d want it to?

Karl explains the difference between auto focus and manual focus  and how to get the perfect focus every single time with this great practical demonstration of not only how focus works, but how to use it and the different results that you can get from different focus points.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • What is focus and why is it important for photography
  • How to focus your camera
  • Autofocus vs manual focus
  • Selecting your focus point on your camera

To learn more about some of the concepts discussed in this class, take a look at our Photography Quick Start Guide.

If you have any questions about this class, please post them in the comments section below.

NOTE: This course is available with subtitles.


  1. Hi Karl,
    Despite using an aperture of between 4 & 5 on my canon mark 4, i cant seem to get sharp focus on the eyes and faces of the people. I want maximum bokeh as well, as its a family shoot.

    1. Hi Jaisal, what lens are you using? For example with an 85mm lens I can get the eyes sharp on a single subject at f1.8 and easily at f4. I’d run a check on your lens with your camera on a tripod and your subect fixed, like a pencil or something thin, to check the lens focusing. Do this in AF and MF.

  2. Hi Karl,

    How do you manage to focus someone by using an analog camera knowing that the focus is always at the center of the viewer?

    1. It was never easy but generally you’d point the camera at them and focus and then recompose and then hope that depth of field covered it. Alternatively if you’ve got good eyesight you just view the image to the left or right and make your best guess.

      1. Thank you s much for the answer, I like very much the way you explain technical issues. It is really interesting.

  3. Hi Karl,

    This is an excellent video!

    I wanted to ask, I have great difficulties photographing clear transparent quartz crystal clusters. The issue I have is that the quartz crystal has many clear long crystals branching out at different overlapping angles, and it’s difficult to capture the definition of the clear crystals the overlap each other in the main body of the crystal. Any suggestions would be greatest appreciated.

    Many thanks and best wishes

  4. Hi Karl,

    Which is the best method to get the auto focus micro adjustment? I listen talk about the software that calibrate automatically, is this software a good option?

    Thank you very much

    1. Hi Justiniano, I know you can custom calibrate your autofocus/lenses on some of the Canons and maybe other 35mm cameras but I believe this is done manually in the camera menu, i’m not familiar with any other software for this purpose?

  5. Hi. Question. I use Sony A290, A390 & an A58 and on focusing on AF area I have 3 choices, Wide, Spot and Local. Which is best for what subject and metering modes, I get stuck on what I need to set it at too…can you help me get better understanding of this?

    1. Hi Steve, don’t get hung up on the focus mode or the metering mode. As you progress through this course you will come to learn why. Most of the time I focus manually anyway but if in autofocus usually the wide or multiple focus points works well. Forget about the metering mode as it’s not important as you are going to learn to use just as a guide while you make the decisions manually, leave metering on wide/matrix or centre weighted for the time being.

  6. Hi..
    what the no. That sometimes arise beside the green dot .?!
    And I’m really enjoying this course ..
    big thxxx..

    1. Hi Duaa, the numbers on the left of the green focus confirmation dot are the aperture setting and the shutter speed. These items are covered in the previous chapter and later chapters of this course. Cheers Karl.

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