If you try to achieve a photo realistic look it`s important to understand some aspects related to photography. And considering the fact that we use photographic elements as a base in our artwork the following tips can also help you find the perfect stock images for your artworks. I have tried to illustrate these aspects using both photographs and photo manipulations.
The focus is basically the sharpest area in a photograph. When working with portraits usually the sharpest area is the subject of the image and a small area around it. The rest can appear blurry. This is a great way to make your subject stand out.
Here is an example where you can see the difference between a photo with an out of focus background and a photo with a background that is just as sharp as the subject:
And this is an example of a photomanipulation where I have blurred the background a bit to make the subject stand out: