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Improve Your Photography Through Selective Focus

  Selective focus is a photography technique that can dramatically improve the beginning photographers images. Or any photographer for that matter. It is a technique by which only the subject of your photograph is in sharp focus.

  The better you can isolate your subject in a photograph, the better your image will be received. We do this using several photo techniques. Using the rule of thirds, selective exposure, perspective control, leading lines, and selective focus just to name a few.

  Selective focus is very easy to learn. It separates snap shots from a well made photo. Look at what your feel are some snap shots. Does the subject compete for attention with the background? Now look at what you feel are great photos. Is the background unobtrusive or out of focus? I'll bet it is.

Self Assignment: Learn Selective Focus

  Take a roll of film, or a fresh memory card and go out with your camera and look for a repeating pattern. Something like a fence row, a row of unobstructed telephone polls along a straight road, a row of parked cars, use your imagination. Any repeating pattern.

  Now set your camera to Aperture Priority. If you are not sure how to do this then stop everything and read your camera manual now, then come back here. Place your camera on a tripod or some sort of support and set your aperture at the largest opening (smallest f-number). Now compose your shot so the repeating pattern runs through your photo from foreground to background. Pick just one object of the repeating pattern and focus on it. Make a shot. Now, don't change your focus, but set your aperture on the next f-stop or aperture number and make a shot. Repeat this through the whole range of aperture settings. Make notes as you go recording the frame number and exposure settings. Especially if you are shooting film. If you are shooting digital, you can use the EXIF information to retrieve this info at your computer.

Go through the resulting shots and take note of how much is in focus with each different aperture setting. What you will learn from this is how to isolate your subject by selecting your aperture to control depth of field (amount of sharp focus) and its effect on your exposure.

I have not included any example photos because I want you to go out and get your own. So get out and just do it. You'll be glad you did.


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