Daily Photo – Jen

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.


  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  50
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
  • Lighting:  Zeus head in beauty dish overhead camera right;  another in large gridded softbox low, also camera right.

Composition and Processing

  • I’m finding more use for ISO 50 these days than I would have expected.  My default on both camera bodies is 200, but the combination of shallow DOF and limited space to move lights leaves only ISO as a viable option for exposure control (the Zeus lights were at their lowest power settings).  I suppose I could should with a neutral density filter, but I suspect putting another piece of glass in front of the image would have more impact on image quality than changing to a low ISO (which theoretically should improve IQ, but I don’t notice any difference from 50 to 200).
  • For this shot I wanted Jen leaning toward the camera, with expression and body language all attitude.  The shallow depth of field helped reinforce the lean and drove more attention to the (in focus) face.  The hand on the hip helped as well, making the posture more defensive.
  • I wanted the hair to come forward in some way, if for no other reason to add a little more character to the shot.  I was concerned about losing the eyes though, which had to be sharp.  I was actually expecting to lose the left one (from the camera’s view) to some degree, while the right would be the main subject of attention.  Instead, it turned out to be the opposite.  Despite greater occlusion, the left caught the lights perfectly, helping it punch through the obstructing hair.


February 10 2009 04:18 pm | Photography

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