Daily Photo – Jamie and Shadow

The Daily Photo 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.

Jamie casts a somewhat different shadow on an adjacent pillar.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/4
  • ISO:  100
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • The goal here was to show two representations of the subject:  one actual and one shadow.  You can kind of see Jamie’s mohawk, but only just.  Her shadow is much more revealing.  Your eye starts with her as the brighter subject, then tracks over to the shadow (where more information is revealed).  In hindsight, I probably should have removed the mohawk in photoshop and just let it show in full on the pillar;  that would have created more contrast.
  • The pose here is less about the dramatic angle and is purely functional.  I placed her against the wall to get her close to the shadow and keep it sharp.  Having her look up and to the left created more space for the shadow to appear unobscured, and the particular tilt of the head let the shadow fall in almost perfect profile on the pillar.  The lines also progressed more smoothly from subject to shadow, starting with Jamie’s braids and proceeding through her chest and shadow representation of the same (all running from upper left to lower right).
  • Cropping this tighter removed two distractions:  the excessive length of the shadow and body, which were giving a heavy feel to the bottom of the image;  and Jamie’s slightly protruding belly, due to the arch in her back for the shot.

Original:

June 02 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Jamie in Red

The Daily Photo 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.

Jamie poses in the dim light just after sunset.

Exposure

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

Composition and Processing

  • I liked the original crop, save for two things:  Jamie’s shorts, which seemed out of place; and the way the legs looked thicker when contracted to form these lines.  So I brought it in closer, making it more about the face than the posture.
  • The red top Jamie has on is just a piece of silk I draped over her shoulders.  I really liked this color in the shot, particularly the way it matched her skin and the dark brown tones in her hair.  However, processing the background to its original black gave the whole image a reddish-brown cast (the black was neutral, so the reds and browns took over).  That actually looked pretty good, but not the look I was after.  By adding a hint of blue to the background I eliminated the cast and offered a nice, if subtle, balance to the reds.

Original:

April 24 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Jamie in Blue

The Daily Photo 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.

Jamie provides a little attitude for this natural light shot.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  100
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • I do some pretty aggressive cropping at times, but even this shot goes beyond what I would normally find acceptable.  However, with the only likely destination here and flickr, a final crop of 2311 x 1541 was more than sufficient to cover those two venues.  Two observations:  first, the biggest benefit of higher megapixel cameras is increased compositional flexibility in post.  Second, how you plan to use an image has a big impact on how much you can chop it up.  Photography these days so rarely winds up on a wall (um, not counting Facebook), that there’s probably more room to maneuver than you think.
  • One more cropping note:  I already had a couple shots of Jamie with her mohawk, so I cropped tight and effectively cut it off, getting a shot with a different look without a hair or wardrobe change.
  • This is lit entirely by the late afternoon sun.  Jamie’s standing in front of a 4′ x 8′ piece of black foamcore;  light is spilling around both sides and is being reflected back at her with two similar size pieces of white foamcore.  That gave me a nice soft light with a dark background.  With a little more maneuvering (moving Jamie forward and using more black foamcore to control the side light) I could have gotten a pure black background, but I wanted something a little lighter so I’d have room to alter the color later if I wanted.

Original:

April 14 2009 | Photography | No Comments »