The only hard and fast "rule" that I am aware of is that yes, you should have focused on her face. That said, the soft focus, expecially on a woman, is often flattering.
Meanwhile, you have got her "framed" in the shot, she is engaged in reading, which draws the viewer into the scene, and the only suggestion I have is that you might try cropping this to square, remove the door to the right, and the little window on the left. Try it.
I like it too.her expression, that reflection/window behind her and... those great ripped tights!
I would also crop but maybe only from the left as I really like the door. She looks as if she is smoking but the smoke is indistinct from the background and would really add to the shot if you could emphasise it.
Finally...it would look cracking in a good mono conversion.
Really lovely shot.
I agree with a slight crop, but I LIKE that old door. I'd try a crop to exclude the window on the left, and just below the mailbox above. Street photography works when it emotes and evokes a sense of complete reality- the run in her stockings, the painted tree on the step, the wafting smoke from the cigarette, the beat up old door, the wondering of what she is reading (a script, an eviction notice?), all scream that this is a real person, in a real place, feeling real things. To achieve that angst, I think we can sometimes look beyond the technical. I share your intrigue with this shot. Nicely captured.
The problem with street photography is that the "perfect" shot can, more often than not, look staged.
The essence of street photography is to snatch a moment - which, I think, is exactly what you've done here.
I agree that it may be worth a very slight crop on the left to get rid of that frame thing, but I'd leave the door on the right alone.
In fact, apart frop having a look at that crop, I'd leave the rest of it alone - why would you want to try B&W and loose the lovely contrasting greens in the stone and woodwork? B&W might even lessen the impact of her tights.
She will knock your eyes out, I'm too old for this. She owns the place but hasn't got a penny. She's sophisticated working on her writing, but she is a tramp. She is a fashion icon...
But all this from a photo. No ordinary photo.
My first thought was a crop on the left, but then I think she would be facing too close to the edge. I'd rather try to "paste in" some more of the wall to get rid of the window.
I agree that I like the door, but the question I'd ask myself is, "is the door part of the image"?
About the focus, I'm not sure I can find anything sharp. What shutter speed was used?
Too bad her cigarette wasn't longer and more prominent.
I agree with Sharon - this would be a very effective mono. The door to the right may not distract from the girl in a mono conversion.
I like this shot too, and I like Kevin's crop. I tried it in B&W and thought it was very effective. It gave a different feel to the image but I can't decide whether I prefer colour or B&W ! They are both good, just a bit different.
Hey, thank you for the great responses. The soft focus was because she moved her head, but I don't mind it much. I'll contemplate the crop suggestions. I've got another shot of this same person on another day, another look.
Same door. She works at the cafe inside. I caught her on her break both times.
Because there is a lot to look at and think about and because it is well composed.why do I like this photo so much?
Why is she on the step, what is the paper, what is through the door behind her and the open door just out of shot to the right. Why are her tights ripped - fashion statement or the result of something that happened. Add to that the visually interesting weathered wood/paint/walls and the bright reflection in the glass and you have an image with lots of interest and not much dead space.
Compositionally you also have her slightly off centre, which is good, plus she is framed by the doorway which draws the eye to her. In short it is a glass and a half of interest in one image.