Daily Photo – Sarah at the Wall

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.

Sarah leans up against City Hall on 2nd street in downtown Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • A 35mm lens has a small amount of distortion due to the focal length.  If I shot this too high, the feet would recede a bit relative to the head;  if I shot it too low, the opposite would occur.  Neither of those are necessarily bad depending on what you’re after, but since I wanted the lines to be fairly straight I shot this from about the middle.
  • I tilted this shot to the right for a couple reasons:  it made the otherwise static composition a bit more dynamic and also oriented the main lines toward the corners.  Leaning right made the most sense, making the wall a stable platform supporting Sarah.

Original:

May 18 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Sarah in Hat

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.

Sarah poses for a head shot.

Exposure

  • Shutter: 1/250
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
  • Lighting:  3 Zeus heads, one a a large softbox low camera right;  another in a beauty dish high camera right;  last one in a strip box camera left.

Composition and Processing

  • The hat was too tall in this shot, so while I planned to crop closer anyway, I ended up going in very tight to minimize the impact.
  • Little things can make a pretty big impact on how the face looks.  Compare this shot to the earlier one I took of Sarah, where her face is rounder and softer.  Adding the hat and bringing the hair in tighter to the face created much more angular lines and a harder look.  Both shots have a certain intensity in the eyes, but the emotions conveyed are completely different.
  • A minor aside about Canon’s 50mm L lens:  it definitely has a back focus problem.   This shot’s at f/5.6, but if you look closely the brim of the hat is soft.  I’m doubtful this was user error, given that all my studio shots of Sarah had this problem.  There’s a well documented history of back focus problems with this particular lens, so I’m not entirely surprised.  I’m just disappointed that it’s still an issue given how long this lens has been around and the absence of this problem on so many other L lenses.

Original:

April 28 2009 | Photography | 5 Comments »

Daily Photo – Sarah in White

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.

Sarah leans against the barrier inside one of the W construction walkways.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/1.6
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • This was intended to be a center crop.  I liked the symmetry of the pose, the straight on gaze and the even distrbution of the backlight.  I wasn’t thrilled about the chopped arms, but I had no room to move backward in the walkway, and the only wider lens I had was a 14mm (too wide for this shot).  In post, I couldn’t find a center crop that worked with the clipped arms, so I went in closer and off center.  One arm got removed altogether;  the other got cut at an angle that wasn’t 90 degrees to the edge (like the original) and leads more or less in the direction of the eyes.  The pose became less about Sarah’s position in the frame and more about her expression (specifically, the eyes).
  • I wanted Sarah’s skin tones to be fairly light, but I didn’t want the background to be the same or darker.  That would have been too distracting.  So I washed out the background and the hair, simplifying the shot and making the eyes really pop.

Original:

April 17 2009 | Photography | No Comments »