Daily Photo – Steph Framed

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.

Stephanie leans into the frame of a W construction walkway in downtown Austin.


  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • The streetside face of the construction walkway is very square and rigid — perfect for framing a composition.  I asked Steph to fit into the frame and hang over it slightly.  That caused the frame to recede further in depth relative to the subject, creating a weird and to some extent conflicting visual.  For example, the frame itself, once blown out, has no depth to it at all:  it looks paper thin.  And there’s no indication how much further the back wall is behind Steph.  Does it work?  That depends a lot on where it’s viewed, because…
  • …one problem with images that use a lot of negative space (or more specifically, large solid white or black regions that touch the borders) is how to display them in online settings.  We simply don’t have the matting and framing choices we would have otherwise had, unless we bake them into the image itself.  Here we have an image with a lot of white space running off the top and bottom, displayed against an all white background (here and on flickr).  You have no idea where the image starts or stops, redefining how the various elements relate to each other (indeed, the negative space becomes less of an element because it’s not well contained).  That’s dramatically different from, say, the black border of my portfolio (were I to put it there), or a photo site like SmugMug that defaults to black.  There’s no clear solution outside of processing with an eye toward most likely presentation context, but I do make a habit of checking an image periodically during processing against white, gray and black backgrounds.


March 11 2009 07:37 pm | Photography

2 Responses to “Daily Photo – Steph Framed”

  1. Vanessa on 11 Mar 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    I always like to see your before & afters. Thanks for posting them!

  2. KG on 12 Mar 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    My pleasure, glad you like them!


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