Daily Photo – Stephanie at the W take 3

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

This is the third shot of Stephanie from the W shoot, and probably my favorite from the entire set (around 14 shots total, some of which will find their way up here in the next few months).


  • Shutter:  1/160
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM


Composition and Processing

  • By pushing up the exposure in Lightroom, every surrounding distraction was effectively removed from the shot (i.e. turned to white or near-white).  A minimal amount of shadow was left on the inside edge of the wall — just enough to suggest a structure or support.
  • I cropped this to the left of the frame so it was clear she was looking down a wall at the camera.  In general, I prefer cropping to the side opposite where the subject is looking, so that they’re looking into the frame itself.

January 28 2009 07:30 pm | Photography

2 Responses to “Daily Photo – Stephanie at the W take 3”

  1. Duncan Lu on 04 Mar 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    I take it you’ve heard of the Diagonal Rule? There’s a diagonal overlay in Lightroom which does this exactly and I can see you’ve composed the shot along those lines.

    Excellent, thanks for the PP tips, they’ll come in handy.

  2. KG on 04 Mar 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    I had completely forgotten about the diagonal rule. My normal steps when initially composing (and later cropping) are to:

    1) position (or re-position if cropping) the subject based on rule of thirds.

    2) examine the flow of the image — i.e. where the implied lines are and where they lead. I then make further adjustments so that these track more or less to the corners. Essentially the diagonal rule.

    In some images I make heavy use of negative space or a background pattern that isolates the subject in one part of the frame. What’s not clear to me about the diagonal rule is whether it would then apply in the region the subject exists in (were it cropped tighter) or simply doesn’t apply at all. I’m inclined to believe the former.

    Thanks for the tip on the diagonal guides in Lightroom — I hadn’t known they were there.

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