How Focus Makes A Photo.
Lest my title give the false impression that I’m an expert when it comes to photography, let’s be sure to clear the air.
I am an amateur photographer at best.
And if there are levels of amateur, then I am near the bottom.
I do love photography.
And I am learning.
Even if it sometimes feels like I’m learning at a snail’s pace while I give my primary focus to raising teenagers. 🙂
I’ve participated in the weekly photo challenge every week this year so I can broaden my creative skills. When it comes to lighting, I still have a LONG way to go in understanding how to set the camera to capture the scene exactly as I see it.
And while I’m sure my composition doesn’t always follow the “rules”, I do tend to think about it a lot when composing a shot. The challenge theme this week is “focus”. Last week, I shared some photos of Doors of Edinburgh that I thought captured a detailed focus.
When I think about focus, I think about where I want to draw the eye.
Sometimes I follow the rule of thirds (the imaginary grid where you align the subject at intersecting points of a photo divided vertically and horizontally into thirds).
And sometimes I don’t.
There is a lot happening in the photo above.
Perhaps your eye begins at the ferris wheel, travels past the Eiffel Tower, then past the Luxor Obelisk, moves toward the foreground to the statue and lands on the girlie taking a photo of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. And of course, the colors of the sky and the setting sun appearing to light up the lampposts add to the ambiance for me.
Or perhaps it starts with the foreground with the girlie and the light from the phone and the lamppost and travel from right to left?
Tell me, which is it for you?
The shot above was also taken in Place de la Concorde. I used the wall to the Jardin des Tuileries and the lampposts to lead your eye down the journey that the girlie was contemplating.
While many of my flower shots tend to show my preference for a shallow depth of field, (which I think sets off the subject) given the events of yesterday, I decided to share some of my thoughts around my personal composition using only photos from my trip to Paris this past April.
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Never trust your fears. They don't know your strength. -Athena Singh . .I came back from the store today to hear the news about Paris. We were just there in April, staying less than 1/2 mile from the Champs Elysses when the shooting of that police officer happened. My first time overseas…and traveling with my children. This scene with my hubby pointing out sights to us as we crossed a bridge over the Seine. And then I was in Scotland when the terror occurred in London. I shared in a moment of silence with the country while sitting at a library in Airdrie doing genealogical research. And then there is today. I am beginning to hear people say they don't want to travel. I find myself wondering if I should listen to fear. But then I find strength. There is a magnificent world to see… in my back yard and beyond. . . . .#visitparis #passportready #optoutside #roamtheplanet #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #wearetravelgirls #doyoutravel #theglobewanderer #theoutdoorfolk #livefolk #liveauthentic #lifeofadventure #exploringtheglobe #exploretocreate #travelblogger #lifestyleblogger #modernoutdoors #pocket_allnature #rsa_outdoors #darlingescapes #fromwhereistand #thehappynow #loveparis #neverstopexploring #ipulledoverforthis #naturehippys #amazingtravelbeauty #water_captures
Even in the photo above, I like this shot because even though I’m not centered on the canal, there is something in the foreground (a hand in this case), leading your eye down the river.
If you’ve been following my blog for some time or even on Instagram, then you know that I have a love for framing a photo with something in the foreground. For me, it adds dimension to the photo. Since most of my photos are outdoors and I love nature, that tends to be what I use to frame the shot.
Here I took a photo of the Musée d’Orsay, which is located on the left bank of the Seine. We were walking to Notre Dame when I saw the building through a break in the trees and liked the way that it appeared.
Another reason that I often compose my shot with framing is that I’m trying to create a scene that is perhaps slightly different than the millions of photographers who have captured the same spectacular attraction.
A building is quite different than the sunsets I like to capture. The sunsets are fleeting and rapidly changing and it’s less likely that somebody will have a photo that looks just like mine.
In the photo above, I chose to frame Sacré Couer between the trees and the carousel that were located much closer to street level than the basilica itself.
Depth of Field.
I’m still playing quite a bit with depth of field and learning how I prefer my images to look.
This was taken the night after the shooting that took place while I was in Paris in April. We decided that we would not let fear hold us in our place. I had planned all along to visit Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées for their world famous macarons. So the hubby and I walked there, bought some, and returned to our hotel.
I decided to try my hand at a little creative photography.
A tripod would have been wise since I was shooting with only one hand…and my non-dominate one at that! 😉
Do you have a preference for a certain photography style?
Are you drawn to crisp mountain scenes?
The tranquility of long exposure waterfalls?
Bokeh (google this if you don’t know what it is… I had to not so long ago… it’s quite stunning and I typically only achieve it by accident at this stage in the process) in every photo?
Do you like a macro shot or a spanning vista?
Do you prefer architecture?
How about people?
Maybe, just maybe you are like me and love it all!
Also, something I quite often love about photography is that it says so much without saying a word.
Let your light shine!
26 thoughts on “How Focus Makes A Photo”
I like the rule of thirds. I’m going to try that. Great post.
The rule of thirds is the one that is the easiest for me to figure out. There are others as well, but I’m still working on those. 🙂 I hope that you have great luck applying it to your photos!
Ferris wheel, obelisk, camera phone…
I like it all. I am particularly fond of nature, flora and fauna, and food. I really enjoy the shots that make me feel something. When I feel like I’m there, when I know the mood — those really are worth a thousand words.
I like shots that make me feel as though I am there as well. I am still working on conveying the mood. Sometimes I get it. And just as many times I don’t. lol.
Very interesting post, Amy, and great selection of photos. As to where the eye travels in the first “busy” Paris photo: My eyes went girlie with phone, Obelisk, Eiffel tower. And then I saw that there was also a ferris wheel. The eye is naturally drawn to the bright parts of the photo, then looks for lines. The cell-phone display (which happens to be more or less on the rule of thirds grid) has the natural line with Obelisk and Tower. And it is a bright spot drawing in the eye of the viewer.
I like the way you “frame” your objects like the museum with the trees or Sacre Coeur with trees and carousel.
And also the Macaron and girlie shoots the Place de la Concorde are very nice examples of working with a shallow depth of field that makes photo interesting.
Thanks so much for the feedback Marcus. The intent is to have the viewer notice the girlie and her phone with the sunset, so I think I got that part right. Often I think of the eye traveling left to right since we read that way, but when I reflect on photos that I peruse I see how we are drawn to the bright parts of the photo. I will definitely keep this in mind as I continue!!
I have been working on shallow depths of field since I seem drawn to so many that I find on Instagram and blogs.
Thanks again for the helpful advice! Photography has a lot of components that go into make a good photo a great one. Sometimes the information out there is overwhelming, so I just keep learning little steps at a time. 🙂
You are welcome 🙂
I am loving your photography series! I just purchased a camera and am learning so much. I am looking up your Instagram now to continue learning. I am like you and love it all. Thank you for sharing. ❤️
I wish I could learn it all faster, but life has a way taking up so much of my time 🙂
There are some amazing photographers on Instagram and probably more Youtube tutorials than I’ve even begun to peruse. Best of luck in your photography journey!! 🙂
I don’t always follow the rules and do what my minds eye saw the subject. It may not always be what is really there, but what I “saw.” If you have followed my posts long enough I think you may understand what I am talking about .
Yes, quite often my photos don’t tend to follow rules either. And if they do, it isn’t always intentional. I am trying to learn them so that I can feel like my base knowledge is a little more grounded. 🙂
Amy Lyon Smith, if you are an ameteur you are certainly in upper echelons af amateurism!
You are too kind Abrie. Thanks so much! 🙂
Your photos are lovely!
Thank you! 🙂
I love checking your blog and the beautiful photos you add part of your blog and so I nominated you for The Mystery Blogger Award. check this link out https://sugunag.com/2017/07/04/the-mystery-blogger-award/
Thank you for your kind words and nomination! 🙂
You are welcome
You’re too modest 🙂 Really nice tips, thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for your kind words! 🙂
This is such an interesting post 👍