Before and After — Heather at Cafe Dance

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.

Heather rehearses for the KDH Dance Company.


  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 3200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (at 153mm)

Composition and Processing

  • So I know I’ve given all kinds of reasons in the past about why I stick to black and white for rehearsal photos, particularly at this location, and I’ve given a couple key exceptions that favor color instead.  This is actually a fine black and white photo.  But how can you resist all that color?  I further went down the magenta spectrum by adjusting the white balance that way, and then used a bleach bypass filter in Photoshop to make the skin a little less pink and give it a more gritty feel (I did another version without that, but it was too pastel).
  • I cropped this vertically to remove distractions and make the shot a bit more personal.  Most of the lines run north/south too, including the gaze.  I think if the hand didn’t join the inward bent hip at the bottom, there may have been a tendency for the viewer to start at the face and run straight down and off the bottom of the image.  But the “trap” at the bottom, with hand bent flat, keeps them in the scene.


March 26 2012 05:54 pm | Photography

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