Thursday, April 7, 2011

Photo Thursdays- Changing your Focal Point

How many times has it happened to you? You have taken a picture that you absolutely love on the camera but when you load it onto your computer you find out that it is actually blurry. While your subject's face being blurry is usually the last thing you want, sometimes it makes the most dramatic photograph.

The point of blurring part of the photograph while keeping another part in focus is used to emphasize something in the picture. So first you will need to pick something worth emphasizing. This is extremely easy to do with wedding photos. The bouquet or especially the wedding rings are a beautiful focal point and easy to make the dominant part of the photograph.
Set your photo up with your focal point closest to you and the other parts further back. For instance, in the above photograph the couple is sitting on a bench. I set the flowers on one end and had them sit on the far end. I then knelt close to the flowers to get this image.

Try to find different focal points, often times with infants their own fingers and toes make great focal points. Couples are a great place to experiment with fingers, since holding hangs is considered a sign of affection, focusing in on there can help define a photograph as loving.
Make sure to occupy your subject behind the focal point. This is most easily done with couples because a kiss is discernible even out of focus. Think about what the object of your focal point is and how your subject would normally react to that. In the image below, the boy is in his marching band uniform with his instrument, in this situation he would normally stand at attention, so that is exactly what we had him do.
Have your subject interact with the focal point if it is an object. A child holding their favorite toy towards you, usually says more than photographing that same focal point on the ground a little ways away. 

The key is experimentation, try new things and new photo angles. Try out new focal points, you will be surprised to find that you may like some of the photos without your subjects faces in focus better than ones with them in focus.

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