Focus or sharpness in a photograph, in my opinion is a relative and totally personal choice. When you look at the work of a famous or even not-so-famous photographer, do you ever complain that the subject of the photo is out of focus and then dismiss the work as being sub-par?
By what standard can you declare an image to be in focus anyway? Is it the sharpness of the pupils in a person's eyes? What if the person is jumping and the whole point of the image is to illustrate the action? I would think that having the person blurred would be required in order to get that across to the viewer.
What if there are more than one major point of interest, with one moving and the other static? Who decides what should be sharp and by what degree?
I heard a photographer say the other day (on a video) about a triangle of photography. On one point is the sitter or subject, the other points are the photographer and the viewer respectively. Each of these are key to the success of a photograph. A change in any of these key points means a radical change in the image.
I would like to think that if 3 different photographers were given the task of photographing the same subject they each would produce a distinctly different image. Each image would therefore impact a potential viewer in a different way. Using sharpness or lack of it, could play a key role in this process.
As of late I've been considering the use of movement, and the lack of sharpness in my portraits. What I like about this opportunity is that it affords me the ability to show, or at least interpret my idea of energy and life. I can attempt to express a feeling of life by using motion. Living creatures (humans included) are not static. By using motion the sense of life/spirit is caught in a non-precise manner and presented to the viewer.
One or more exposures at the camera may be a long-winded approach to this expression, but at this time at least for me it is a necessary one. At other times, simply moving the camera lens during a long exposure produces the desired result. I never know exactly how to go about it until I'm fully involved. That's the fun part. I might plan the project completely, but until I actually get the camera in my hand and the subject in front of me nothing is set in stone. All of it could change in an instant. This is the joy of creating an image that is driven by creative energy, the light (and shadow) and of course the response of the subject and all that effect it in regards to the viewer.
I think that I will continue to work on images that express my feeling of energy far into the future. There is no reason for me to alter my intent. I suppose it could be the basis for a long-term personal project. Now there's an interesting thought.
Till next time.
I can't imagine photographing a person for a portrait and not taking a moment, no matter how brief, to make sure that they are looking their absolute best.
One of the best tools for a photographer to have on hand is this little beauty. Perhaps you've never seen one, but I would highly suggest that you as a subject of a photograph, and if you are indeed a photographer grab one. It is a lint roller, or lint brush.
These little gems are a quick solution to hours of post-processing work and cost less than $6. I purchased this one at Staples for $4.99. I couldn't imagine spending all the time to set up a shoot and forget to be sure that every effort had been taken to make sure my sitter appears their best. Especially if a stylist is not available. In many cases for me, the photographer is also the stylist.
Another nifty tool is a makeup pad to quickly remove shine from the face, as it absorbs perspiration. Again, this speeds up the post-processing which saves time and can save the client dollars better spent elsewhere.
What little tips can you offer fellow photographers to help their workflow, as they have helped yours? Leave a comment below.
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.