Before and After — Michelle More at Houston AVP

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.

Michelle More hits the ball at the Houston AVP Tournament in 2009.


  • Shutter:  1/2000
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Backgrounds in sports can be problematic, often so jumbled and noisy as to distract from the main image.  Shooting with a shallow depth of field helps isolate the subject, but that’s not always enough if the color and tones are similar.  In this particular instance, however, what made for a horrible venue to host an AVP tournament — lack of seating and an impossible to find location — was a boon from a photographic standpoint.  Massive black and dark green backgrounds really helped the subject stand out in the image, with very few people to clutter the shot.
  • I shot this at f/2 which, while having the advantage of softening elements in the background, also took out the foreground.  Specifically, the net.  You can still see it, but it’s just soft enough not to detract from the subject.  The black background, being the same color, also helps de-emphasize it.
  • By contrast, the yellow tape really pops and provides a nice internal framing element for the subject.  I don’t always find this nice a combination, but when I can I really like using the elements of the court itself to bring more focus to the image.




Michele More at Houston AVP - original

February 08 2012 12:38 am | Photography

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