Thursday, March 11, 2010

Where's Your Focus?

focus: 5 a : a center of activity, attraction, or attention b : a point of concentration... Merriam Webster dictionary

Today I want to talk to you little about focus. When I'm taking a picture I ask this question often... where's your focus? Usually, I'm taking portraits of my kids and so I want my focus to be on their face and more specifically on their eyes. Since people are generally who we want to focus on in our photos that's usually where we want our focus to be but sometimes we want it elsewhere to draw our attention to the story behind the photo..

Every camera is different and therefore your settings are different but in general every camera has a focus point which is normally in the center for p&s cameras or you can have from 3 to several focus points in higher end p&s camears and dSLRs. Your goal is to use that point to get the most tack sharp focus exactly where you want your focus to be... Many cameras allow you to pinpoint your focus area, press the button down halfway and then you can move the camera around to get the composition you want before pressing all the way down to take the shot and your focus will stay on the object or person that you had locked in the focus on.

In my photos I want to bring your attention to something... so most of my photos will focus on a child's face and more specifically the face... but sometimes I want to tell a story with my photo so I'll focus on that storytelling part of the photo... take this photo for instance... I want people to see how messy my sweet boy is... I have the focus on his messy hands after eating but you can still see that it's him who is being the messy boy. So, I set my focus point to focus on his hand and I set my aperture pretty wide so that the rest of him is blurry but you can still tell it's him.
Here's another example, again of my sweet boy... this time focusing on the fact that he bent the drill bit, so I took a picture of his hands playing with the drill and my focus is on the hands not his face or even his whole body or the whole scene... can you tell he's my little trouble maker?
Normally, this is what my photos look like... a picture of my child with the focus on their face and more specifically on their eyes, although in this photo, I could have told the story by focusing on the ASL "I Love You" sign but chose to focus more on my sweet girl by focusing on her eyes showing how happy she is
and here is another one not focusing on the face but focusing on something on his face to show the story... my child has a snotty nose and he's reaching for kleenex... is that what you see with this photo? Is your attention drawn to the snotty nose?
OK, here's your assignment... take a picture that tells a story, drawing our attention to something or some place using the focus point(s) on your camera. Post the photo here in this thread for us all to see.


  1. Nice blog. Thanks for following mine~ how did you find it?

    Take care,

  2. Good tip, thanks for sharing...I need to focus more, I am usually just trying to get some shots before my seven start heading out the door.


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