Lesson 4: Foreground v Background Focus

by Beth Taylor January. 28, 2018 1199 views

On my camera I use the autofocus, but I can change the place and size of the 'box' I focus on (On my camera this is the 'area' focus setting on 'custom' mode). I use this because it gives me loads of flexibility about which subject I focus on, and is also easy and quick. When choosing where to focus, the obvious, and often best, place is the foreground, or main subject. However, it's important to consider other options, as they can be just as effective, and it can be better to blur out the foreground so the background is more visible. It can also help to deliberately vary your focal points (as I have done below), to compare and see which works best.

Today, we went to Penshurst, and I decided to try and take photos where there is an obvious foreground an dbackground, so I could compare the shots more easily. This wasn't too hard, as I often take photos like this, but i tend to lean towards foreground focuses, so it was challenge to get one where it looked best with the background in focus. However, I managed it on more photos than I expected, so I aim to attempt more varied focus points in the future.

I like the focus on the edge of the building because it emphasises the circular shape of the tower, and the texture of the bricks.

I like the focus on the edge of the building because it emphasises the circular shape of the tower, and the texture of the bricks.

I don't like this shot as much as the one beneath, because the focus on the grass isn't a good subject for a photo. However, I do like the slightly blurred people at the top of the image.

I don't like this shot as much as the one beneath, because the focus on the grass isn't a good subject for a photo. However, I do like the slightly blurred people at the top of the image.

I prefer this shot, because the texture of the mud reminds me of country walks. However, I think it would be better if the shot was taken from lower so there was less grassy expanse in the centre.

I prefer this shot, because the texture of the mud reminds me of country walks. However, I think it would be better if the shot was taken from lower so there was less grassy expanse in the centre.

Personally, I don't like this shot as the one focusing on the branches in the foreground, but I do like that you can see the  tree texture in this shot.

Personally, I don't like this shot as the one focusing on the branches in the foreground, but I do like that you can see the tree texture in this shot.

I like this shot because the focus on the branches mean that they stand out from the similarly coloured background.

I like this shot because the focus on the branches mean that they stand out from the similarly coloured background.

This is an example of a shot where I misjudged the focus. The focal point is too isolated and I composed it poorly so it isn't in the centre.

This is an example of a shot where I misjudged the focus. The focal point is too isolated and I composed it poorly so it isn't in the centre.

This post is part of a series on my channel which I am doing as the first part of my Silver Arts Award in Photography. Part A is when you begin to develop your skills in your chosen art form. I decided to work on my technique, focusing on a different aspect of photography technique each week for 8 weeks. I really appreciate any feedback, positive or negative, on my posts, so please comment anything you'd like to say. I would love it if you would follow me on my journey to try and improve on photography technique!

My camera is a Fujfilm XA2, and I would highly recommend it, especially for beginners :)

If you are interested in doing silver arts award, go to their website: http://www.artsaward.org.uk/site/?id=64

Please help me complete Part D of my arts award by giving me some information on photography careers: https://www.photoblog.com/forum/t/careeers-in-photography/44360

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Lily Z 3 years, 6 months ago

These are really interesting, and a concept I hadn't really thought about before. To improve, you could possibly use some different methods of focus to compare. Like the colours in your photos though!

3 years, 6 months ago Edited
Beth Taylor Replied to Lily Z 3 years, 6 months ago

Good idea! Will try that next time :)

3 years, 6 months ago Edited
Marcus Taylor 3 years, 7 months ago

These are really good examples - almost like they were from a textbook on the topic. Including the one that did not work as well is very wise, since you have made comments on it that show how it could be improved.

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
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