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Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

Selective focus prioritizes photo subject

Let’s talk about how we can communicate to the viewer why we took this picture.  In photography you want your subject to dominate the photo. Therefore, you’ll need to make a number of adjustments to remove distracting elements from in front, behind, or near it. We’ve considered having the subject or photographer move to change the angle of view, move closer to the subject, and/or to switch to portrait mode, but if those won’t do the job, there’s another option to consider.

Intentionally throw the distracting elements out of focus by selecting a shallow depth of field to solve the problem. Shapes are blurred and colors are not as bright. One way to achieve this is to use a large lens opening, which reduces the depth of field. This method also demands accurate focusing on the subject.

An example of selective focusing by Rex Dolby.

The “yes but” to using large lens openings is that the picture may be over exposed at this setting. If this becomes an issue, you can use a faster shutter speed, or set your exposure to one or two stops less. Do some experimenting and pick the combination that produces the results you want.

Selective focusing can also be achieved by switching to a telephoto lens, because a shallow depth of field is a characteristic of these lenses.  Combine this lens with a large lens opening and you’ll create a really shallow depth of field.

If none of these efforts produce the desired outcome, there are photo-editing programs that will provide multiple ways to blur the background.

Not related to the topic, there’s no supermoon report because clouds blocked the view.  However, if you’re interested, the next full moon is on April 19 and the next full supermoon isn’t until Monday, March 9, 2020.

POSTED: 03/27/19 at 11:07 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News