Archive for September, 2010

Before and After — Annette and Chair

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.

Annette rehearses at Cafe Dance.


  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • This shot probably would have worked just fine if the background were completely empty, floor fading to white.  But the out-of-focus dancers waiting in the background increase the sense of depth in the image without distracting from the subject.   They also make the shot less private — imagine how much greater the feeling of isolation would be if they weren’t there.  As a result, this is as much about the performance Annette is giving as the fact she is rehearsing.
  • Those dancers in the background do another interesting thing for this image:  they lead your eye back to the subject.  They’re all clearly focused on Annette, providing a subtle re-direction any time our eye wanders off the main subject.  Normally I think about the lines in an image in a purely planar sense, but in this instance we’re talking back to front in 3D space.
  • One minor detail, important for balancing the image:  I left in the barely visible corner where the wall meets the ceiling at the back of the room.  Without it, the weight of the bottom 2/3 of the image would have felt off balance.



September 06 2010 | Photography | 1 Comment »