The standard procedure of shooting portraits is the short tele, wide open to blur the background, compress perspective and get up close and personal. This way you get details and expressions visible and very often it results in a likable image. But, a good exercise is to use a normal focal length or even a wideangle to enjoy a blurred foreground as well. What happens is that the environment is suddenly dictating the mood "together" with the model.
Me and my daughter were deep in the forest and she sat down to investigate something she found. Unaware of me tiptoeing around her I picked a low spot from the shadows and framing more as if she wasn't there but still thinking "portrait shot" showing where we were and the peaceful mood. [24/3.8 Elmar]
In contrast this is a posing portrait but with a normal focal length and through the grass in the foreground. Again it is not close and personal but gives another feel good factor with being very expressive of the environment surrounding us. [50/2 Summicron]