Focal Point

I have been recently testing a plugin (FocalPoint2) for Lightroom (the software I use for all my processing of images), and its got me thinking about the ways we use the ‘focal point’ in an image. Unless there is a ‘focal point’ in an image, the viewer tends to scan quickly across the image and move on…we need a point that the eyes can ‘rest’ on so that the eyes stay still for a minute and look at the picture.  As photographers, we do this in various ways… the rule of thirds suggests that the focal point should be about a third of the way across, or down, the image, and if that point is accentuated (with colour/contrast and focus) it helps.  We can also blur out the back/foreground so that the focal point is more obvious, and this is where this plugin, ‘FocalPoint2’ is a great help.  Obviously, its good to get the image right in the camera, but this plugin, neatly integrated into Lightroom, is wonderful for those images where, looking back,  you wish you’d used a different f-stop, and hence had a different depth of field.  Its very controllable, has an amazing array of ‘presets’ that replicate different lenses, and is infinitely adjustable.  It would be easy to go a bit too far with it, and turn all your images into slightly gimmicky ‘flickr’ style shots, but if you’re careful, I think its a great addition to the workflow… here are some very basic samples with before/after examples…

FocalPoint2 plugin for Lightroom

FocalPoint2 plugin for Lightroom samples on an autumn day

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