Daily Photo – Marlo in Motion

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.

Marlo rehearses for the KDH Dance Company last fall.


  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • Most of the foreground lines in this image neatly match the background lines:  an arm and leg align with one edge of the curtains;  the other arm and leg align with the opposite edge.  And once the image was rotated a bit, they all run to the corners.  Of course, when I took this shot I was focused primarily on Marlo’s movements, trying to catch her near full extension.  The background was secondary.  By shooting this sequence several times, I not only increased the odds of getting a sharp f/2 image with the subject’s eyes open;  I also managed to land this image with the perfectly aligned background.
  • One thing to try with backlit images is to position the subject against an otherwise dark background.  The edge lighting of the subject makes them really pop from the darker tones in the distance.  While that’s easy enough to do in the studio, it’s much harder to achieve when backgrounds and lighting are out of your control (nevermind subject movement).  In this case only Marlo’s arms and head are in front of the black curtaings, but that’s enough to help draw your attention there first.


March 16 2009 07:02 pm | Photography

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