This week's tip is to keep those things you want to appear to be sharp in the same focal plane. The shot of the butterfly above is an example. Taken with a 200mm macro lens at a wide aperture to render the background soft and to emphasize the butterfly, I carefully positioned the camera to keep the wings sharp. Even so, the very tips of the wings are a bit soft. The choice would have been to select a smaller aperture to give a greater depth of field, however doing so would have destroyed the soft background I wanted for the shot.
Another example below was set up to show the difference. I used a 100mm lens at about 5 feet from the toy ducks. The first image was set up with the eyes of the ducks in the same plane and the front of both of the ducks appear sharp. The second was set up with one duck closer than the other in a different focal plane. One is sharp and the other is clearly not.
Therefore when shooting with a narrow depth of field, such as a macro shot or using a long telephoto lens, carefully position yourself to maintain the parts of the image you want sharp in the same focal plane.