Daily Photo – Leslie at Rest

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.

Leslie relaxes at the end of a half-day shoot.


  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I wanted to show more depth in this image than a typical wide-open headshot would provide (at least with the white background and near-white canvas Leslie is lying on).  So I had Leslie raise her feet and rest them against the wall, twisting her body substantially to keep them from sticking straight out of the top of her head.  At f/1.4 the feet are sufficiently soft to separate from the body and make the shot more 3D, as it were, but not so much that you can’t tell what they are.  I’ve gotten a mixed reaction on this shot though — some folks still think they’re too much of a distraction.
  • Tilting the shot pointed the toes and elbows more toward the corners.  Normally I’d crop a photo like this to the left because Leslie is looking to the right (i.e. it would be better to give her some space to look into).  That would have created problems for the feet though, pushing them too close to (or through) the left edge.  Cropping larger, to create more room, would have reduced the intimacy of the scene.  I chose instead to crop to the right, which works primarily because her closed eyes are looking straight at the lower right corner, and naturally extend along the same lines as the feet.  I lost her left elbow at an odd spot;  I suspect it’s not jarring because the long lines formed by her arms run almost parallel to the nearby bottom edge of the frame, and because it’s so heavily blown out at that spot.


April 11 2009 06:38 pm | Photography

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