Ever heard of Selective blur (also known as selective focus)? For the above photo I wanted to get a nice shot of Alison and Abigail. I also wanted to emphasize that Abigail was younger, and that Alison was, to an extent, always going to be in the background to watch after her little sister. What I decided to do was to place Alison behind Abigail, and then give strong focus to Abigail’s face so that Alison would be sort of like a blurred shadow behind her. So I pointed by camera at Abigail, let the auto focus do its job, then I turned the camera back to frame the girls together. Snap, I took the shot. What I could have done to get an even stronger blur on Alison would have been to choose a lens with a smaller F-stop. The lens I used for this shot had a maximum F-stop of something like 4.5. But, the bigger the F-stop, the more things will be in focus. I have a 50mm lens with an F-stop of 1.8. Had I used this lens, Alison would have been far more unfocused, but Abigail would look much the same. I think I’ll reshoot this with the 50mm so that I can show exactly what I mean. My advice to you….go out and start to experiment with selective focus. I think you’ll have fun and learn a lot from the results.
Here’s a link I found to a really nice example on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mactographer/5377573016/in/photostream/