Daily Photo – Jamie in Red and Orange

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.

Jamie looks through a backlit red mesh.  I suggest looking at the larger version to see the pattern, as it might not show at smaller sizes.


  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/16
  • ISO:  800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • I put a 4′ x 8′ white foamcore board a few feet behind Jamie.  I then suspended a fairly fine red mesh from a boom in front of her, and had Janus Anderson stretch the mesh tight to remove any kinks and folds.  The sun was coming in from behind Jamie, to camera right.  The idea was to catch the mesh in the light but not Jamie — I wanted the pattern to appear but thought it would be harder to see if Jamie were in the hard light too.  Ultimately I had to bring her forward for DOF issues, but the angle of the sun made the impact on her minimal.  I used the white foamcore to create more contrast with the Jamie, since her hair was dark (I didn’t want to lose her into the background, although black might have afforded an equally interesting look).
  • DOF was problematic for this shot, even at f/16.  I wanted both Jamie and the mesh to be sharp, but while I shot several variations of this where I manually adjusted the plane of focus, I could never find one that got them both perfectly.  That probably wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t later decided to crop so tight.
  • There are two Lightroom gradients in use here.  Most of the red from the original mesh didn’t show, so I went with something stronger.  I actually tried several color combinations for this, but ultimately settled on something that was (more) complementary to the original light and Jamie’s skin tones.

Click on the image to see the larger size.


March 19 2009 06:15 pm | Photography

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