Quick Photo Tip: Selective Focus When it Matters


selective focusing saved the day!

Since so many of my fellow photographers always hand hold their camera, it’s very difficult to stop down to F/22 to get everything in your composition in focus; without having to jack up the ISO. The problem I’m always hearing in my online class with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind”workshops I conduct around the planet is that inevitably, they always forget to change the ISO back which as you know can lead to more issues.

If I’m walking around with a camera over my shoulder and not knowing what to expect, my go to lens, the lens I almost always have on my camera is a 16-35mm Canon lens. I shoot everything from landscapes to portraits with it, and have always loved the lens. On of the main reasons is that I can get more in focus at a shallower DOF (Depth of Field) with a wide angle rather than any other lens that’s longer.

However, there are times when I can’t stop down enough and be able to hand hold. This is important to me as I always want to have complete control, so it’s the reason I’m almost always on a tripod…and very fast with it. That said, I’m occasionally hand holding my camera and come up against a situation where I’m not going to be able to stop down enough (I never jack up my ISO because I will most likely forget to change it back) to get everything I want to be sharp.

So, what do you do? Go the opposite way and use “selective focusing” to get the shot you want…and just maybe it will turn out to be a better idea.

In the shot with the man playing the trumpet, While walking around an outdoor event, I heard the jazz trio and went to investigate. I wanted to take this man’s portrait but I couldn’t get him all sharp while getting “up close and personal” to his trumpet. I decided to shoot wide open and just have the front of the instrument sharp and let everything else be soft. It still says the same thing I was trying to say, and to me it “colors outside the lines”…one of my favorite things to do!

– BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

The Use of Gestalt in Photography


“I just wanted to thank you for another wonderful class. I have to confess that each week when I read the new assignment, my first reaction was mild panic and a deep certainty that I would not be able to produce anything worthwhile that fit within the parameters you had set. But before I knew it, the ideas started to flow, and I quickly became obsessed (no, that isn’t too strong a word!) with exploring the possibilities. I can honestly say that the photos I produced in response to your assignments are among my favorites. Thanks for bringing out a creative side I didn’t know I had!”

Barbara Geiger
Understanding Color

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After the click

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Dale Yates
Lightroom Quickstart

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