Before and After — Steph at 200

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.

Stephanie poses for a shot in the late afternoon sun.  The blonde hair makes her look a little bit like Charlize Theron.


  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 200mm f/2.0L IS USM

Composition and Processing

  • This was a bit of an experiment at the end of the shoot — the sun was going down and there wasn’t much light left to work with.  I had just purchased a 200mm prime lens I intended to use for sports, but wanted to see if the length was still within reason for a portrait.  I was also curious if the distance required to shoot with the lens meant I could still keep most of the face in focus at f/2.  While I was happy with the image quality overall, the compression from shooting at 200mm was a little too much.
  • I originally asked Steph to bring a bunch of solid black and solid white clothes to the shoot so we could try some images like this and this, where the clothing and background blends into one solid color and the subject is articulated by the skin and hair only.  That’s why she’s wearing what she’s wearing here.  We had already taken those shots, and with very little light left I simply took a piece of material and tacked it to the wall behind her.  I thought that would provide a good contrast in both texture and tone to the uniformity of her clothing and skin.


February 13 2012 06:41 pm | Photography

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