Focal point is a term that photographers and photography blogs throw around continually. “Create a focal point,” it’s said, “it should be the first and last place the eye goes in your image.” That’s true, of course, but like most important things it’s easier said than done. A strong focal point is better thought of as the punctuation at the end of a carefully composed sentence. You need to know not only what makes the best single focal point, but also how to compose the sentence that precedes it.
First, consider what makes the best focal point; the best punctuation. There are a few things that your eye will shoot to first because of the way your brain processes visual information: points of high contrast, high sharpness, faces, human and animal forms, forward color tones (usually warm tones, like yellow) and recognizable objects that are large in frame (which reads as close). For effective punctuation of your visual sentence, you need an object or entity that creates interest and is comprised of at least one characteristic from this list.
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