When most of us have an unfocused photo, we utter some sort of word that isn't appropriate to be published on a family Web site. If we're lucky, we get a chance to reshoot the photo and make the focus sharp.
However, there are a few instances where an out-of-focus photograph is preferred. An unfocused subject in a photo can create an interesting and unique look that can give your photo a completely different feel than a typical photo. Here are some tips for making the unfocused photo something you shoot on purpose.
- Try setting the aperture on your camera to a wide setting. This will give your photograph a narrow depth of field, which means much of the photo will be out of focus.
- If your camera has a manual focus option, use it. By focusing on areas away from the subject and by using a wide aperture, the subject will be out of focus.
- If you're using a camera that only contains auto-focus capabilities, you can make the camera focus on small item in the foreground, such as perhaps the leaf on a tree, which should leave the background -- including the subject -- out of focus. Or, you can focus on an item far in the background, which should leave the subject in the foreground out of focus.
- With a point and shoot camera that only offers auto-focus, it can be very difficult to shoot an unfocused subject. Instead, you can try shooting a "soft" photo, which looks a little like an unfocused photo. For example, use extremely bright external lighting to purposefully wash out the subject. Or mix bright light with a subject in shadows and turn off the camera's flash to shoot a soft photo. You'll have to try a few different techniques with your point and shoot camera to try to achieve an unfocused look.
- One final tip: Make sure that the out-of-focus subject is only slightly out of focus. If the unfocused subject is so blurry that someone viewing the photo cannot recognize it, the artistic aspect of your photo will be negated. It takes some work to get the lack of focus just right, but you'll have a cool photograph once you do.