What’s my Focus?

On a recent critique of the photos I had taken of my youngest daughter, a photographer mentioned that my choice of light was good but that I needed to focus on my subject more. He proceeded to point out in several of my photos where I had done a nice job of focusing on my daughter by simply blurring out the background. Huh? Upon closer examination, I see his point. In the pictures where my subject is the only thing in focus, her image just “pops” out at you. The blurred background offers no distraction to my main subject. In food photography, thumbing through other people’s work, I noticed that many shots have a short depth of field. Meaning, that the food item is the only item in focus while all else behind it is blurred out. It makes for an “artsy” feel and gastronomically draws the viewer into the dish. So I decided to take some classes to officially learn the fundamentals of my camera and how to gain the effect I want on purpose rather than by accident or luck – mind you… neither of those hurt to have! I shoot with a Sony α100 digital camera. Why Sony and not Cannon or Nikon? Frankly it’s because my brother-in-law had given me his old Minolta with various lenses and Minolta lenses fit Sony camera bodies. I LOVE my camera and I imagine Sony must be on their umpteenth version by now. (Note to self: add to my wish list the Sony a33). As luck would have it, the store I purchased my camera from offers a curriculum of photography classes free with purchase.  The classes are basic and practical. In them, I learned how to adjust the depth of field, what ISO and Aperture means, and what all those funny little A, P, M and so on settings are on my camera.  They taught me how to set my camera on continuous shooting and gave me recommendations for shooting in low or bright light.  I learned what light flares are! I must say that coming away from the classes, I have a greater appreciation for my camera, lenses and simply the art of photography!  Armed with my new found knowledge of the basic principles, now all that’s left is to practice, practice, practice! Which I’m more than happy to do! 🙂

I had to add this one! My 9 y/o arranged the food and shot this pic herself. It's her masterpiece!

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