The Flower Through the Leaves
Instead of photographing this fiery flower in a traditional straight on manner, I opted for a different vantage point using the surrounding foliage as compositional elements. To start to develop your eye and see other possibilities, I like to remind my clients and students to explore the subject from all angles. Even before you bring the camera to your eye, study the scene, take note of the direction of light, and then start to visualize how it will look in the finished shot.
The leaf underneath the flower is totally thrown out of focus by using a wide aperture of f2.8 on a 100mm lens. To exaggerate the effect, I stood just a few inches from it. Meanwhile, the active focus point was on the flower pedal closest to me which kept most of the flower sharp while achieving a soft background. For the most precise focusing, I always prefer to use just one active point. This allows you to place the point on what you want sharpest rather than letting the camera guess with a multi-point feature. With this type of shallow depth of field, selective focus, and contrast in color, the flower really pops, and seemingly floats amongst the greenery.