In portraits that tell a story, it is often good to add a background person. The background person can -no, should– be blurred out; an almost ghostly appearance whose presence adds storyline but also adds questions and interest.

Like in this picture at a recent event, where the incoming president praises the outgoing president:


A story, all in one picture.

When you shoot, always ask “what is my background? What is it contributing? Is it adding to the story or distracting? What is the story?


0 thoughts on “Foreground-background

  1. I did not try but could have. Why di I not try? It would have looked much less natural. And re focus spots: yes, I know I have like 39 of them.. but how many do I generally use? That would be “one”.

  2. You see that effect in the movies and TV as the cameraperson shifts the focus to sync with dialogue. But maybe it does not work with photographs.

    But you caught my hint at a question – is more focus points always better? Why not 50, 100? Is it merely a marketing gimmick after a certain number?

  3. Well – it is better when you want the camera to choose where to focus: Snapshots and sports (tomorrow I am shooting a tennis match: I’ll probably use them).

    In other modes of shooting, you choose one. (Even there it is better to have many to choose from I suppose, but it is not essential).

  4. So here’s a question, following on the WH photo:

    If it was shot with a 135 F2.0 lens, why would you be shooting at 2.8?

    -If its foreground/background blur you want, wouldn’t F2.0 be better?
    -Greater sharpness? Though the 135 is pretty sharp at F2.0- stopping down to 2.8 provides minute difference (which is probably impossible to spot on a web version)

    Any other thoughts, which don’t involve having to email the actual photographer?

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