How to Take Better Pictures: Color and Focus

Tulip……for you!, originally uploaded by Imapix.

Just wanted to share this shot from Imapix as an example of excellent use of color and focus. (Although it’s also an example of good composition.)

Color can be just as important as lines and composition in drawing your viewer’s eyes to the subject of your image. In this case, the warm tones of the budding flower contrast with the cooler tones of the green and blue foliage in the background. This contrast helps divide the subject and make it “pop” against the rest of the image content. Even though there is a spot of warmth on the right-hand buds, the main flower’s vibrancy keeps it the clear center of attention.

Focus can also enhance the subject of an image. In this image, there are two aspects of focus on display. First, the subject is sharply focused, showing fine details that encourage your eyes to linger and explore. Secondly, a photographic effect called bokeh results in the background of the image being blurred and indistinct. You can produce bokeh by using a wide aperture on a lens. However, the smaller the lens, the harder it is to produce bokeh in an image. That means that it’s very hard if not impossible to produce bokeh using a small point and shoot digital. When combined, sharp focus on a subject and bokeh result in an enhanced “pop” of your subject away from the background.

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