Terms – Soft Focus

A soft focus leaves nothing in sharp focus keeping your subject partially obscured for the viewer’s imagination to fill-in.

Normally in a photo the focus would be sharpest at the point you want the viewer to look. So obviously total focus is not always desirable. Keep this in mind: the human eye will search out a point on which it can rest. The purpose for resting is not important now but to know this is huge.

A resting point for the human eye is important so keep your focal point in context.

Search for yourself and find some examples to illustrate your findings through research.

I have found that the eye is looking for the point with the most detail and least distraction. This leads me to believe that the point closest to fully focused (if properly achieved) should be a type of funnel apex. While this makes the most sense logically it may not always work out as intended because of the effects of lighting, contrast and other factors.

I was once told there were four steps to building habits that can be applied to such things as finding the right portrait locations and photographic practices. These steps are:

  1. Unknowingly ignorant
  2. Consciously ignorant
  3. Consciously implemented
  4. Unknowingly implemented

It is “Okay” to make mistakes. It is “Okay” to even repeat mistakes that you do not know are being made. This is giving you the opportunity to consider a possibility in refining your skill and work. This may be your help to see that you are halfway to being a better photographer!

If you choose to make some changes when mistakes are called to your attention and consciously fix or avoid the problem, you have made it to step 3! Keep it up because all that is necessary for step 4 (unconsciously implementing the solution) is consistent good practice!

Rough Start…Smooth Finish

It take a lot of things in co-ordination to bring anything from “good” to “wonderful”.

Images that speak a thousand words, take quite an eye to create or a lot of study, research, patience, experience and knowledge. An artist makes each piece of art with a specific purpose, for an intended group of people, to make a specific statement.

For instance; a writer puts in order his thoughts so as to make a concise point, adding attention grabbing action, descriptive words (to cultivate the reader’s imagination) and a strong story line that answers the questions it creates as well as the anticipated questions of the reader.

A photographer is required to frame the subject of the work so as to draw it out and give it interest. Take a look at how other great artists use the extra space in their works by adding interest with supporting visual aid.

I love texture! I will use a macro lens so often that when I raise my camera to shoot a bird flying over head only to find that I have forgotten what type of lens I am using. Then I catch myself, “What am I thinking? I cannot shoot a bird flying high overhead with a 35mm!” The problem is, I was not thinking!

Notice the use of the rough brick texture to emphasize the soft flowers.

Texture is something that requires the sensory use of touch, a close-up view, hearing or all of the above to notice the differences in the surface. Macro lenses, in a word, are designed to focus at a closer range than wide-angle, tele-photo and tilt-shift lenses. Therefore the macro lens is the champion of lenses when you desire to explore the microscopic worlds within flowers and underneath rocks!

Photography is the artistic expression of how one person (the photographer) sees the world around them. Therefore my body of work displays my interests, unique/creative perspectives, capabilities and even what I believe. Perhaps “just getting by” is not enough to get me out of the “creative slump”, but learning something in the process will add to me as a person and artist.

Take a look at your work and consider “What element would you bring into an image that will raise its value?”