First of all my worst nightmare – taking portraits. That said it needed to be done. That is the beauty of this course of dragging me out my comfort zone.
The subject was placed about 2 metres in front of a wall. I positioned her so strong low December lighting gave modelling to the face yet did not light the wall. This was to give some contrast between the foreground and background so it accentuated the depth between the two. I got her to look to the left, as straight on the sun caught her eyes and made her squint.
The exposure was 1/100th second at f6.3. As instructed I focused on the eyes. It can be see that on the fur on the left of the coat and the top of the hat are becoming out of focus due to the narrowness of the depth of field. As a result it really does lift the face and this becomes the focus of attention.
It could be argued that the brick joints in the wall are a distraction but I think they are suitably out of focus enough and dark enough that this would not be the case.
While the image demonstrates the technique required by the question and is a good likeness of the model I am unhappy with the lighting on the face. The highlight on the cheek is just a little too harsh for ‘proper’ portraiture. That said the catch lights of the fur on the right are quite pleasing. I probably could have toned it down a little in Lightroom but I am trying to stay away from any image manipulation. At some point for my own satisfaction I will reshoot and repost.