Find a subject in front of a background with depth. Take a close viewpoint and zoom in; you’ll need to be aware of the minimum focusing distance of your lens. Focus on the subject and take a single shot. Then, without changing the focal length, set the focus to infinity and take a second shot.
F10 ISO 200 1/200 F10 ISO 200 1/160
As you review the two shots, how does the point of focus structure the composition? With a shallow depth of field the point of focus naturally draws the eye, which goes first of all to the part of the image that’s sharp. It generally feels more comfortable if the point of focus is in the foreground, although there’s nothing wrong with placing the point of focus in the background.
The different points of focus are obvious in these two shots and yes the eye is drawn first to the sharp part of the image. I think where the point of focus is comfortable is controlled by the photographer and their objective. I have often used this technique and vary the focal point between foreground and background depending on my objective.
These two shots were taken when I was collecting for One Square Mile assignment, it may be subjective, but for me the most comfortable focus point is in the first image, the foreground.
However in the next two shots the most comfortable focus point by far was the second image, the background; this was one of my final images and my intention was for the viewer to see the courts and the net, so I guess I shot it to achieve that balance.
I am finding it interesting to contemplate on some techniques that I instinctively use, learning about why and how I use them and how I can improve them.