Before and After — Paola in Black and White

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.

Paola poses in the late afternoon sun.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/400
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Composition and Processing

  • It’s pretty common practice to apply some degree of smoothing to the skin when you process a portrait shot.  There are lots of great methods and tools for doing this (I favor the Portraiture plug-in for Photoshop), but the risk of overdoing it is that you lose all skin texture and your model turns into a plastic mannequin.  In this case I went really light on it and manually touched up a few spots in order to preserve the nice gradients resulting from the lighting setup and Paola’s inherent skin tones.  On a pale blonde that might not have worked so well.
  • This is a pretty conventional pose, but a useful one.  The arms both fold back up toward the face, leading the eye in that direction.

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March 04 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — No Man’s Land

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 gets caught out of position in no man’s land (or rather, no woman’s land I suppose) at the 2009 Houston AVP tournament.  Although it does look like she can make a play on the ball.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/2000
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Composition and Processing

  • It’s usually the broken plays that make the best photos.   It’s the only time you’re guaranteed to get a natural reaction out of the players, because something just happened they didn’t expect either.
  • Speaking of which, you never know what you’re going to get with player facial expressions in the middle of the action, no matter what the sport.  Some yell.  Some stick their tongues out.  Some just have this glassy blank look on their face.  Those are all good.  Michelle More has a great reaction here.  But some players have the weirdest expressions, or their eyes appear to be looking in completely the wrong direction, or their mouth is twisted all wrong.  Always.  My advice is to take care when shooting to review your shots — it might be best to find another player to focus on, or if you’re dead set on your subject, to take a lot of redundant shots in the hopes of getting one that works.

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February 28 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Paola Smile

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.

Paola poses in the late afternoon sun.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/400
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I’ve noticed that some models, like Paola, can look completely different depending on how you shoot them.  It’s not that they appear to be someone else;  it’s just that their entire look suddenly changes based on expression or hair or some other alteration.  I point this out because it’s easy to forget just how broad the range of emotion is in people, and it’s a waste not to explore as much of that palette as possible.
  • I let the background drift to blue in processing.  Thought that made a nicer contrast to the reddish brown cast of the rest of the image.
  • Eyes are squinting, that’s a real smile.

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February 25 2012 | Photography | No Comments »