Before and After — The Set

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.

Tim sets the ball at the MAC benefit tournament a few years ago.


  • Shutter:  1/2000
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Another example of the benefits of shooting at f/2:  great bokeh from the light coming through the trees.
  • I took a lot of shots at this tournament using this background, but in this particular one the shape of the trees created a subtle circular pattern that mirrors a similar pattern formed by Tim’s bent arms.
  • One other benefit I got from this shooting angle is that the trees are acting as a black backdrop, but with the sun shining in from above and behind, it’s creating a nice back light that further helps separate the subject from the background.  Not a common situation, but worth looking for if you find yourself shooting into the sun.
  • You have to be careful when cropping shots of volleyball players:  if you cut things off above the waist they end up looking naked.  Best to leave at least part of the shorts (or swimsuit) in, however little.


April 23 2012 05:41 pm | Photography

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