Before and After — Lisa and Erica and Chairs

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.

Lisa and Erica rehearse at Cafe Dance in Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/800
  • Aperture:  f/1.6
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Lisa’s face is the focal point of the image, and a striking number of lines lead in that direction:  both her legs, her arms, her left hand, Erica’s arms and Erica’s gaze.  Erica is slightly out of the plane of focus too, providing some separation between her and Lisa.  That sort of thing can often be problematic when shooting two subjects interacting, but since the primary subject is just Lisa (Erica is a supporting element), that’s ok here.
  • The chairs provided a natural symmetry to the shot, and the subject matter is evenly distributed in all directions, so I square cropped it.  A slight bit of tilt, combined with the asymmetrical form of the dancers, kept it from getting too static and boxed in.

Original:

March 20 2010 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Erica and Apples

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.

Erica reaches for an apple during a rehearsal at Cafe Dance in Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/640
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Normally when I have a subject reaching across the frame, I prefer to give them a bit more room to enter into.  So in a shot like this, I’d put Erica more to the left and leave the right a bit empty.  In this case though, the apples provide a balancing line that stops your eye and drags it back the other way.
  • There’s always a question what to leave in and what to leave out.  Kathy, out of focus in the back with the video camera, doesn’t initially appear to bring much to the frame and would be easy to remove given how blown out things are.  Because of the apples though, she represents a counter balance at the top of the frame, completing a “Z” shape that starts with her, hits all the corners, and ends with the leftmost apple.  Is that the appropriate shape here?  Maybe.  I left things very square within the frame because the Z shape was complicated enough– rotation might have made it more dynamic but also could have led to some visual confusion.

Original:

February 25 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Before and After — Andrea and Marissa

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.

Andrea and Marissa rehearse at Cafe Dance in Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/400
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • The interaction between the two dancers has an interesting impact on the weight of Marissa’s leap.  Andrea is only assisting Marissa’s movement, so she’s not exerting much effort.  But it looks like she’s actually lifting her in the air, making Marissa appear light as a feather.  Without that contact, Marissa’s leap is simply normal.  This is a good lesson in context, one that’s often noted in terms of colors and shapes but, in this case, is about how subject interaction redefines our interpretation of each individual.
  • On a more mundane note, I would have rather shot this with another lens.  The best camera is the one in your hand, however, so better to take the shot than not.  This is one of many arguments for high resolution camera sensors, since they give you great cropping options in post while still preserving a fair amount of detail.

Original:

February 22 2010 | Photography | No Comments »