Daily Photo – Sarah in Window

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.

Sarah poses in the window frame.


  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/1.2
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I asked Sarah to wedge into the frame so she was completely contained by it, offering a sense of stability even though she’s standing on a platform that’s only a few inches wide.  I had her relax her arms a bit, removing any tension from balancing and adding more calmness to the scene:  she’s part of the frame, not fighting against it or being consumed by it.  From there it was just a matter of adjusting arms, hips and legs to create lines that weren’t parallel to the frame itself.
  • Speaking of lines, there’s an interesting question about the diagonal rule that I don’t know the answer to (this came up a few weeks back in some comments on this blog):  In cases where the image is broken into segments by strong vertical and horizontal elements, does the rule apply better within the individual frames (as is the case here) or to image as a whole?
  • I clipped the edges so the window frame would appear to run off indefinitely, and give the impression of greater height.  I also chose to leave a little bit of texture in the background to reinforce that (i.e. she’s not just further up relative to the inside of the room, but also way up in the air relative to the outside environment).
  • And yes, it looks dark.  But the shadows aren’t clipped and the highlights are (the sky).  Better to have more information to work with in post than to close off options.


April 01 2009 08:12 pm | Photography

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