Slice of life

You can use se­lec­tive fo­cus to di­rect the viewer’s eye to­wards your sub­ject

NPhoto - - Nikopedia -

At the op­po­site end of the scale from keep­ing as much as pos­si­ble in the frame sharp is us­ing very shal­low depth of field. There is nat­u­rally more choice in how to play it than with deep fo­cus, be­cause you’re able to de­cide which parts of the scene will be in fo­cus.

The clas­sic se­lec­tive fo­cus ap­proach is to keep sharp­ness re­stricted to the tini­est part of the scene, us­ing the widest aper­ture (and with a fast lens, such as Nikon’s 85mm f/1.4, depth of field can be ex­tremely shal­low). Us­ing a longer fo­cal length en­hances this ef­fect, as does shoot­ing in close-up. The eye is nat­u­rally at­tracted to­wards sharp­ness, and so a ramp from soft to sharp, as in this scene in Laos of Bud­dha stat­ues be­ing gilded, leads the viewer’s eye into the im­age.

Suc­cess in shots like this hinges partly on ex­ag­ger­at­ing the con­trast be­tween the sharp and blurred ar­eas, so not only is it im­por­tant to choose the fo­cused part pre­cisely (and to be very ac­cu­rate in your fo­cus­ing) but also to have the out-of-fo­cus ar­eas at some dis­tance phys­i­cally from the main sub­ject of your pho­to­graph.

The lines of per­spec­tive draw your eye to the man, and se­lec­tive fo­cus­ing has made him the clear sub­ject of the shot

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