Before and After — Lisa and Erica and Chairs

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.

Lisa and Erica rehearse at Cafe Dance in Austin.


  • Shutter:  1/800
  • Aperture:  f/1.6
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Lisa’s face is the focal point of the image, and a striking number of lines lead in that direction:  both her legs, her arms, her left hand, Erica’s arms and Erica’s gaze.  Erica is slightly out of the plane of focus too, providing some separation between her and Lisa.  That sort of thing can often be problematic when shooting two subjects interacting, but since the primary subject is just Lisa (Erica is a supporting element), that’s ok here.
  • The chairs provided a natural symmetry to the shot, and the subject matter is evenly distributed in all directions, so I square cropped it.  A slight bit of tilt, combined with the asymmetrical form of the dancers, kept it from getting too static and boxed in.


March 20 2010 04:04 pm | Photography

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