Daily Photo – Doa in Black and White

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.

A more traditional shot of Doa in black and white.


  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • This was originally just a test shot.  At the start of each shoot, I usually ask the subject to make a bunch of different faces.  It doesn’t matter whether they can accurately show a different expression or not;  it just gives me some extra tools to use later in other shots (i.e. I know what I’ll get if I ask for “angry” or “curious” or whatever).  I chose this shot for the natural look of Doa’s smile, which appears unforced.  Her lean toward the camera suggests engagement with the viewer (along with the tight crop), and as a result, the smile is more welcoming and personal.
  • I really amped the contrast on this one, losing a lot of detail in the hair as a result.  In hindsight I might have opted to leave more information in the shadows, but the shot really isn’t about that anyway.  Doa’s skin tones are very close to those of the wall;  her hair and shirt provide nice boundaries for the simple shape of her face and neckline.  As a plus, the necklace reinforces the vertical lines that lead to Doa’s face, and there’s enough bend in the chain to imply shape where there aren’t many other cues.


March 21 2009 06:52 pm | Photography

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