To appreciate this element of design we need to examine the potential for a "focal point" or central point" of interest within an image.
The reason a focal point is important is that when you look at an image your eye will generally need a ‘resting place’ or something of interest to really hold it.
A focal point can be virtually anything ranging from a person, to a building, to a mountain, to a flower etc. Obviously the more interesting the focal point the better – but there are other things you can consider when using this including:
- Position – Place it in a prominent position – This ideally using the "rule of thirds" or the "golden section" to establish the correct position.
- Focus – Using "Depth of Field" to blur out other aspects in front or behind your focal point.
- Blur/Motion – Isolate the subject using shutter speed to blur the surroundings/background or alternatively capture the motion.
- Size – making your focal point large is not the only way to make it prominent – but it can help if it remains within context.
- Colour – using contrasting colours to isolate or seperate your point of interest apart from it’s surroundings.
- Shape – contrasting shapes and textures can make a subject stand out – especially patterns that are repeated around a subject.
- Context - or using the unusual. This can be accomplished by placing the subject in an unexpected setting or against a background that contrasts with the subject context.