Before and After — Ryan and Miko

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.

Ryan and Miko during the dress rehearsal for KDH Dance Company’s 2011 end of year performance.


  • Shutter:  1/200
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO: 6400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Let’s face it:  stage lighting is impossible.  You’ve got performers moving in and out of light that is uneven, multi-colored and nowhere near bright enough.  You can see from the settings that I’m really at the extreme practical end for the camera and lens.  In general though, I don’t try to fight the lighting too much.  Best to leave it full of color and not worry about skin tones or natural renditions, nevermind awkward shadows.  I think most viewers bring a certain degree of real-world expectations about what a performance looks like, and so this photo becomes acceptable in this context.
  • I liked the symmetry of this shot between the two dancers, each posed identically, and both still airborne (Miko’s toes haven’t quite touched the ground).   The one subtle difference — Miko’s head turned toward Ryan — reinforces the implied line from lower right to upper left and adds a bit of personality to the shot.


February 22 2012 07:53 pm | Photography

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply