Before and After — Zion on the Steps?

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.

Zion relaxes on some stairs at the Austin Music Hall.


  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II IS USM

Composition and Processing

  • I was aiming for something similar to this composition when I took the shot, but was hoping to get all of Zion in the frame.   Two compositional distractions made me go tighter:  first, the unevenness of the light on her legs;  second, the metal railing was a distraction.  Clipping a subject low in the frame can feel a bit odd (your eye wants to wander down off the edge), but it’s counterbalanced by Zion’s gaze looking across a fairly large expanse to the upper right corner.
  • With such a simple, clean image, the scuff marks on the stairs in the upper right were out of place (particularly with Zion’s archetypal white dress).  So I removed them.
  • An interesting question to ask is whether the background still looks like steps.  The shadows in the upper right are a visual clue, plus the slight softening as the go up, but without the title to this post, is that what you’d think they were?

Black and white version:


April 10 2010 06:21 pm | Photography

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply