Trade Tricks: The Selective Focus Technique
A key photographic technique to distinguish your subject from its surroundings
2. Telephoto Settings. Use telephoto settings of your zoom or choose a telephoto lens. The stronger the telephoto, the more dramatic the selective focus result.
3. Angle To Subject. Having strongly contrasting sharp versus unsharp areas of the photo makes this effect work its best. Often, this is done when you carefully choose your angle to the subject. Find the angle that keeps background or foreground elements farther from the focused subject (for example, go low to a close-up so the background seen by the lens is far away and, therefore, out of focus).
4. Deliberately Out-Of-Focus Areas. Look for an element you can shoot through or against that can be strongly out of focus in such a way to contrast with your in-focus subject. Deliberately move to get a feature "in the way" for an out-of-focus, colorful foreground, or find an interesting out-of-focus shape in the background. Even though it's blurry, that feature still can be important for color and shape elements in your composition.
5. LCD Review. Check your composition in the LCD to be sure the in- and out-of-focus areas successfully complement each other. Enlarge the image in the LCD so you can see important details.
Tricks Of The Trade
Selective focus can be achieved in the computer by masking the part of the image you'd like to be sharp and then applying a Gaussian blur to the other parts of the shot. It takes time and it's not easy to get right, so it's always better to get it right when you shoot.