Selective Focus

In a previous post, we discussed three styles of composition and the value of making use of all three.  Within that spectrum of composition styles you can use, photographers make selections concerning what they want in focus and out of focus.  This selection can have a significant influence on your composition: how much of your scene do you want in focus?  You may want everything in focus, only some aspects of it in focus, or you may even select to have all of your photograph out of focus, especially in abstract compositions.

Consider the two photographs above.  Both photos were taken at basically the same time, with all the same camera settings.  The only change was in the point of focus.  But they are different compositions and different photos.  I took several like this, focusing on different parts of the same scene.  One day, I'm probably going to display three of them together.

So when you come across a scene you like, don't just shoot and leave.  Consider what kinds of focus selections you can use, and try different things. You may find that the third or fourth thing you try is actually the best.


  1. Quite lovely images, and interesting post!

  2. I learned years ago that one of the MANY techniques that Orson Welles invented and used for Citizen Kane was a camera capable of focusing on EVERYTHING. I enjoy film and watched it for my filmeducation but it makes me SO UNCOMFORTABLE, I CANNOT sit still. Find it agonizing to watch. Will NEVER watch it again (watched it twice over YEARS).

    I finally figured out it's 'cause EVERYTHING is in focus all the time, so its' totally overwhelming for me. It's MUCH more relaxing to watch a film and just focus on the key thing, the rest of the scene is not in focus.

    So, although it was an advance, I'm exceedingly grateful it didn't catch on. So glad to have found this blog. Maybe I'll finally take my photography seriously and actually work on it, getting the technical stuff down? =)


  3. by which I meant I LOVE the direct your eyes to THIS lovely focused thing, and just enjoy the pink fuzz in the periphery. Lovely. =)

  4. Really beautiful Scott. I love the selective focus.

  5. Thanks so much for the compliment, Edith!


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