Before and After — Andrea and Marissa

The Before and After 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.

Andrea and Marissa rehearse at Cafe Dance in Austin.


  • Shutter:  1/400
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • The interaction between the two dancers has an interesting impact on the weight of Marissa’s leap.  Andrea is only assisting Marissa’s movement, so she’s not exerting much effort.  But it looks like she’s actually lifting her in the air, making Marissa appear light as a feather.  Without that contact, Marissa’s leap is simply normal.  This is a good lesson in context, one that’s often noted in terms of colors and shapes but, in this case, is about how subject interaction redefines our interpretation of each individual.
  • On a more mundane note, I would have rather shot this with another lens.  The best camera is the one in your hand, however, so better to take the shot than not.  This is one of many arguments for high resolution camera sensors, since they give you great cropping options in post while still preserving a fair amount of detail.


February 22 2010 11:45 pm | Photography

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