In photography, a focal point is paramount to the success of a picture. It could be the main subject of the picture or something in the picture where the viewer comes back again and again. Having a focal point or creating one in post-production is a sure way to keep the viewer longer which translates into success.
Facebook get 300 million new pictures every day. This means that unless your picture gain and keep your viewer, your picture is just junk in the middle of a junkyard.
What is the focal point in this picture?
This baby is looking straight at you with a great intensity. Her eyes are like magnets. We come back to these eyes after wandering in the picture in all directions.
Look at the shadow of the left side of the head. The sun was very low on the horizon and the light is warm and nice. There is a lot of action surrounding the baby. Her mother is taking a break in the sunset. Behind her there are Peoples sharing a quick meal. In the distance there is something happening in the blurred part of the picture.
I could crop this picture further to keep only the subject in it. However, I chose not to do so after a long debate with myself. This is an in-context portrait of a baby. What is happening everywhere is important and helps us appreciate the story behind this baby girl.
Focal point is helpful in street photography
This is street photography. This is a candid shot of something happening to someone with the context surrounding it. To know more about focal point please read this great article on composition by http://picturecorrect.com.
I made my best in post-production to emphasize the focal point and keep your attention on baby girl. I used a local adjustment brush in Lightroom and I painted the surrounding. I reduced the exposure, the contrast and clarity. There is a rule that I impose myself when doing so. I move the cursor up to the point I feel it is ok and then I move it backward about 20%. This helps keep everything looking natural.
So now tell me, is the baby your focal point? Do your eyes wander in the picture and come back to the baby again and again? If so, I succeeded in creating a strong focal point.
Canon 5D Mark II with Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
200mm at f/5,0
ISO 800, 1/125 sec