This was a technical assignment as we wanted to ensure your ability to control depth and movement before moving onto the next lessons. You’ve showcased your understanding of these two technical elements beautifully. Your first image of flickering fire freezes the movement of the flames while your second image uses a slightly shallow depth of field to help you soften your background, which has helped you isolate your foreground object.
I also appreciate how you’ve only slightly softened your background. This ensures your audience still has a sense of environment and context. It also makes your audience more forgiving of background amputations (i.e. cutting off of objects by 1 or more of the 4 walls of your photograph). As a general rule of thumb, the softer the focus the more forgiving of amputation your audience will be. The sharper your background focus is, the more important it is that you ensure the proper framing of your background objects.
In this case you’ve amputated a chair, part of a shelving unit and a window in your background. I would have liked to either see a stronger sense of background design or slightly softer focus which would have made those amputations less noticeable.
My only other concern with that image is the “blown out” white area on the table. We’ve written an extensive blog post on “latitude and dynamic range” which will help you better understand how to correct this technical issue next time. Please read the post here: