Anyone who has seen much of my photography (such as what is portrayed on my flickr page) will know that I don’t usually do portraits. I’ve not been trained in it, and a lot of people are much more skilled than I in this area. I much prefer candids: and I document events fairly well, trying to get a random sampling of activities and people who are at any particular “happening”. Now I will admit that the primary bias with regard to the choice of shots has to do with my personality: who I like, who I think fits well in a shot, what it pleasing to me. That’s because I’m not paid. The few times I’ve actually been paid for taking pictures, I try to do a much more balanced job.
However: for Christmas my husband bought me a portrait lens. It is a lens that is specifically designed to have as large an aperture as possible: the opening in the lens system that lets the light expose the film (or the light-sensitive whatever-it-is in the modern digital version). Most photographers will know that the smaller the aperture, the wider the “depth of field”: the more of the subject will be “in focus”. I like small apertures when I’m doing my candids, because it means there will be more “in focus”: so I worry about that less. Doing portraits, you want to get the depth of field as narrow as possible: and you can afford to spend time getting the focus precise.
Note in the pictures at right: the subject is “in focus”, and everything else is blurred. (Click the picture to open a larger version in a new window.) The first picture is great: not only is Sam’s face in focus, but only parts of his front leg.
There are a couple more pictures of Sam & Tuck on my Flickr set.