Photo assignment was to use a shallow depth of field and separate the background from the subject by using a the lowest f-stop possible. I believe we also talked about giving a shot that had a ton in focus, i.e. landscape.
Software recommendations: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Only $150, that’s a steal.
Cheap and AMAZING lens, the nifty fifty. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
And for Nikon; Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras