During Fall soccer, I ended up volunteering to take the individual and team photos for my son's team. Needless to say, I was under pressure for them to turn out well! One thing that really catches my eye for portrait style photography is having a small depth of field. This makes the subject really stand out and keeps the background from being a distraction. This can be achieved with manual settings if you have that kind of camera, or most point and shoot cameras have a portrait setting. Luckily I was taking photos outside so I was able to open my lens aperature as big as it would go and still get correct exposure with my shutter speed. The photo below is one that I took and the grass gets blurry in the distance, which is what I wanted.
A more extreme example is this flower photo that I took on a photo walk. I really just wanted to focus on the flower and not the greenery in the background. This was a f/4.5 and 1/40th shutter speed.
There are lots of technical explanations of depth of field and I don't pretend to understand it completely, but it is worth thinking about when taking photos and it's fun to play around with and see what different looks you can get!