The Challenges of Selective Focus

It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of focus in an image. Today, the only images a photographer is likely to trash from a session are those that are out of focus, or focused in the wrong plane. Selective focus, using a specialty lens or software effects, can produce very powerful images. But the intent of the image must align with the focus of the image, or the intent will be significantly weakened.

ChurchFocus-1

In the image above, if the goal is to move the eye up the spire, then that is working nicely. If it is to stop at the top of the spire, perhaps with a “which way the wind blows” reference, then the image has a real problem: the clouds above the weathervane are significantly sharper than the weathervane itself. However, if the image is intended to point to heaven, or to the blue sky breaking though, or some similar intent where the sky and clouds, not the spire, are the final goal, then it will succeed. For stock use, producing multiple focal point images of such a shot, would be wise; as the designer, not the photographer, gets to decide where the emphasis needs to lie.

C. David Tobie

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