Focus: Capture the story you want to tell

Pet Portraits

February 19, 2021

Storytelling is the real focus of an image

When taking a picture we should always focus on the story we want to tell. Ask yourself what’s the main focus and what distracts from that focus. I’d say 95% of the time I’m blurring my background, much like your cellphone does in Portrait Mode. There are times however, the background makes it.

Focus, Story Schnauzer Pups Same Sex Family

This family had never had professional portraits taken. Remember when I said we like to customize each session for our clients? Not only was this a special park to them but they love the fall season. They wanted to see all those beautiful colored trees behind them, therefore keeping them in focus was important.

BTW, these two ladies need some extra blog love. One is a teacher and the other is a nurse. Thank you so much for doing what you do every day but also during these difficult times.



Now let’s say someone calls us and mentions they’re more city folks.

You guessed it, that’s where we go. This is your story. Not ours.

Not to say I won’t snag some closeup shots as well but if we go into the city, you want to see the cityscape vs completely blurred. While the focus is still the family the cityscape should be visible.

Focus, Story Portland Bridge waterfront

Roscoe the pug puppy.

Roscoe is one of our adorable PUGGIN Portland participants. Being a book all about pugs in Portland you want to visually see the background. Roscoe was photographed at the beautiful Peninsula Park in SE Portland. If you ever get a chance you should visit. It’s a magical park.

BTW, presales for the book will begin Saturday, Feb 20th, 2021, which happens to be Love Your Pet Day.

Macintosh is another Pug we photographed recently. He’ll be featured in a different book called “Tails of Portland”. (BTW, we’re still accepting participants if you want to sign up)

Mac’s mom grew up in Linton, Oregon which is just down the street from Cathedral Park where we photographed him. It’s all those small things we try and do for our clients. Your life. Your story. Your images.

As you can see just because we want to feature the background there can still be distractions. Leaves, weeds, leashes, cranes, etc…

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Now not every location is suited for an in-focus background. Take Winnie here. There’s no doubt she’s a beautiful dog, but the rainy Oregon winter day left the image dull and boring.  It’s time for a little *magic*

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Cellphone Portrait Mode

Go out and play around with Portrait Mode on your cellphone. Does it enhance or take away from the story?

Focus, Story Portrait Mode Cellphone

Are you up for a little more info?? Go check out what Linda has to say about focus.

Family and Pet Portraits by VP Shoots Photography servicing the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

  1. Elaine says:

    Great blog. Loved the images and your choices in depth of field for each one.

  2. Dang it, those cityscape images with the bridge in the background are gorgeous. I love them. Your work is fabulous.

  3. I love the city scapes! I guess I need to get my girls out to the ‘most famous’ somewhat local bridge and try to photograph them – you proved that it makes a great photo. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. DANG! Awesome edits. The cleaned-up grass made such a huge difference!

  5. Tracy Allard says:

    Great post Danyel and lovely images, I like how you tied touched upon both urban and country settings this week and the example with the burger was super clever, that really drives the point home!

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