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Placing sharpness. Or: deciding on your focal point.

Selective focus would seem to be a no-brainer; you either choose a point in the scene to place your focus, or you let the camera do it for you. But, as simple as that may seem, there are many things to consider when choosing what to focus on and how to make the best of the focusing options.


There are many ways to make focusing work for the subjects you shoot. In fact, each and every image can offer new opportunities for making creative decisions about the focusing techniques you might use.

Leaving it up to your camera is not a very creative way to achieve the best focus for the image you are trying to produce; shooting using your camera’s Auto mode is not very creative and doesn’t really count as a skill. Understanding what the camera is capable of and using that capability is much more pro cient and allows for almost endless possibilities for making great images.

However, remember that sharp focus is not always the answer. There may be many reasons to make things sharp, but there are many other arguments for making things out of focus instead.


The Art of Defocusing

Every part of a scene has a part to play in the production of an image, and the out-of-focus areas are just as important as the in-focus elements. Generally, out-of-focus areas should support the overall composition and serve with other compositional elements to direct attention toward the main subject.

The art of focusing also has its opposite—the art of defocusing. One of the most useful tools we have in photography is the ability to choose what we want to be sharp, what we want to be out of focus, and how much of the scene is somewhere in between perfect sharpness and blur.

Focus in Photography is John Neel’s exploration of advanced focus that will greatly enhance your skill as a photographer. These pages will show you everything, from high-end techniques to create infinite focus, through to using it as an artistic tool, directing your viewer’s eye around your photographic composition.

Focus in Photography, John NeelFocus in Photography
John Neel

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