On Separation of Foreground & Background

On Separation of Foreground & Background

By |2012-10-29T20:46:31+00:00Oct 5th, 2012|

The Story

For a full before/after of this image and a video walkthrough of how I processed it, check out this week’s episode of +onOne Software Perfect Inspiration – http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode28/

The problem with fitting so much delicious goodness into a single frame is that it becomes very easy to get lost in everything. When you’re shooting at a small aperture, say anywhere from f/8 – f/16, you’re going to have pretty much everything in focus. Depending on how you compose your image and what is in your frame, this can lead to a relatively flat looking shot. However, even in those situations, I find that I’m more likely to shoot with a smaller aperture and get everything in focus because I know that I have tools to simulate shallow depth of field after the fact.

So, in the case with this image of this burnt down structure in Portland, OR, the original image is totally in focus from the foreground all the way to the back wall. However, because the foreground facade was the star of the show, I decided to apply a subtle amount of FocalPoint to render the background slightly out of focus. This instantly helps bring the wall to life and gives the image a 3D feel. But, I always have the insurance of having the entire image in focus should I want to go a different route down the line. It’s just something to consider when you’re shooting and framing up what your image is going to be.

In terms of processing

See the full video walkthrough of how I edited this image over here: http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode28/

[map w=”745″ h=”185″ lat=”45.51119″ lon=”-122.66353″ marker=”yes” z=”17″ maptype=”SATELLITE” 940 /]


  1. Katherine Mollon October 5, 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Good idea; my eyes go crazy on HDR shots… nice to see something different!

  2. Mark Esguerra October 5, 2012 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Very nice! Adding that out of focus effect really does make the foreground pop! Thanks for sharing the tip!

  3. Savannah Adjutant October 5, 2012 at 9:19 am - Reply

    love it

  4. Wesly Smith October 5, 2012 at 9:20 am - Reply

    FocalPoint is also helpful for shots taken with a fixed aperture camera such as smartphone. Good stuff.

  5. Parris Larrain October 5, 2012 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I am so lovin that effect…..WOW

  6. Brittany Redington October 5, 2012 at 9:23 am - Reply

    That's really cool. like no joke!!!

  7. Gilmar Smith October 5, 2012 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Oh I remember this… it was when you needed a cupcake to feel inspired ;)

  8. Brian Matiash October 5, 2012 at 9:52 am - Reply

    +Gilmar Smith HA!!!! That's right!

  9. Gilmar Smith October 5, 2012 at 9:55 am - Reply

    I also see +Brian Bonham was there and left his Whiskey Slut signature. :)

  10. Parris Larrain October 5, 2012 at 9:57 am - Reply

    haha the graffiti is almost secondary when looking at this photo

  11. Vladislav Kubica October 5, 2012 at 9:58 am - Reply


  12. Brian Bonham October 5, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Hahaha, you know it +Gilmar Smith!

  13. Adriane Reins October 5, 2012 at 11:01 am - Reply


  14. Sébastien Beun October 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Beautiful work!! :-)

  15. Michael Riffle October 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    This is such a great effect, it really pulls you in. Makes what's beyond the doorway seem other worldly. And I can't wait to watch another one of your videos, cheers.

  16. Brian Sifelani October 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Hey dude

  17. Krista Dillan October 6, 2012 at 1:25 am - Reply

    wow this is very nice

  18. Doug Dillon October 6, 2012 at 7:23 am - Reply

    Great job (as always Brian)! I so much enjoy this Inspiration series. You give such great ideas and at the same time show off the capabilities of the software. Thanks Brian for taking the time for these. Please keep it up. It's really helpful for those of us that are "inspirationally challenged". LOL! PS I've already ordered version 7 and am anxiously waiting it's release. Great software!!

  19. Carlos Martinez Barreto October 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Cool this Inspiration

  20. Brian Sifelani October 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Cool dude cool

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