Daily Photo – Jamie and Shadow

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 casts a somewhat different shadow on an adjacent pillar.


  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/4
  • ISO:  100
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • The goal here was to show two representations of the subject:  one actual and one shadow.  You can kind of see Jamie’s mohawk, but only just.  Her shadow is much more revealing.  Your eye starts with her as the brighter subject, then tracks over to the shadow (where more information is revealed).  In hindsight, I probably should have removed the mohawk in photoshop and just let it show in full on the pillar;  that would have created more contrast.
  • The pose here is less about the dramatic angle and is purely functional.  I placed her against the wall to get her close to the shadow and keep it sharp.  Having her look up and to the left created more space for the shadow to appear unobscured, and the particular tilt of the head let the shadow fall in almost perfect profile on the pillar.  The lines also progressed more smoothly from subject to shadow, starting with Jamie’s braids and proceeding through her chest and shadow representation of the same (all running from upper left to lower right).
  • Cropping this tighter removed two distractions:  the excessive length of the shadow and body, which were giving a heavy feel to the bottom of the image;  and Jamie’s slightly protruding belly, due to the arch in her back for the shot.


June 02 2009 05:24 pm | Photography

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