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Focal Point: Extra Points

Focal Point: Extra Techniques

Focal Point Part 4

There are many different ways to create focal point in pictures and we cannot cover all of them. Alternatively, differences in focal point techniques makes each photographer unique. In this series of articles, I wanted to present a good case for understanding the importance of focal points and how easy it can be to apply them or forget them. There are times that we, as photographers, are so overwhelmed by the beauty of our subject that we simply miss the focal point. In previous articles I explained some important technical approaches for adding focal point to pictures. In this last part I want to share some extra techniques.


This really pushes your photographic eye to the limits and, if you train yourself to see opportunities and go for it, will always result in stunning photos. How this works is that when you see a shaft of light or a ray of sunlight entering a window or coming through the clouds, use it to place your subject. A patch of late afternoon sun in dimming light will create an area that is much lighter than its surroundings. When you meter for this bright area, the surrounding environment will appear darker. The image now has a focal point that draws the eye into the image. This will also work at night where a solitary window is lit and the surrounding area is dark. Experiment with this technique and you will soon be creating dramatically lit photos.

Focal Point
Directional Light make all the differences.
Focal Point
Directional light separated the tree from the rest of the scene?


By placing your subject’s eyes on a two thirds intersection (the importance of thirds was discussed in a Previous Article) viewers eyes are immediately drawn to that area. Additionally, when your subject is looking down at a child or an object, the viewer’s eyes will be naturally drawn to the point where the subject’s eyes are looking. Whenever you photograph people, if what they are looking at is somewhere other than into your lens, then the actual subject will be whatever they are looking at.  This can be very effective, and it can also cause unwanted problems if it isn’t clear what has captured their interest and gaze to be elsewhere. Try to keep it simple by posing the eyes in right direction. I cover more of these techniques in our Upcoming Portrait Photography Workshop.

Apply the Rule of Thirds for more dynamic portraits.
Apply the Rule of Thirds for more dynamic portraits.?


Sometimes you will have two focal points and there will be competition, but you can offset this by using size. If one of the focal points is considerably larger it will draw the viewer’s eyes first before they move on to the smaller focal point. If the focal points are the same size the viewer’s eyes will dart between them. So be very careful when using a double focal point!


Conflicted focal point as one pair of eyes look to the left and other pair to the right.
Confused focal point as one pair of eyes look to the left and other pair to the right.
Good focal point as both subjects looking the same direction
Good focal point as both subjects looking the same direction
By choosing different size the larger subject creates the main focal point
By choosing different sizes, the larger subject creates the main focal point

Focal points are essential to any great image and your goal should be to include them in every image. A photograph lacking a point of focus will appear flat and without impact. As you learn digital photography it will become easier and easier to have clearly defined focal points.


Happy shooting! Stay tuned for more tips.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team


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