Before and After — Fixing A Total Loss

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.

Stephanie poses in an accidentally over-exposed photo.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 640
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I’m usually pretty good at just guessing the exposure settings I need for a shot, but every now and then I go ridiculously wide of the mark.  I kind of liked the pose in this photo though, so I thought it would be worth seeing how far I could take it in post.
  • Once I’d brought the exposure down as far as I could in Lightroom, I had to acknowledge there was information missing from parts of the arms and face that simply wasn’t there.  The key then was to make sure the stuff that was in range was actually pushed up further relative to the blown out spots so they’d look less blown out by comparison.
  • I sometimes like this sort of crop with lots of negative space, but it has a secondary purpose here.  As above, having a lot of the image blown out to white de-emphasizes the blown out skin areas, making them tolerable.

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March 30 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Steph in 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.

Stephanie poses in the afternoon sun.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 200mm f/2.0L IS USM

Composition and Processing

  • I’ve taken some shots in the past where I had the subject dress all in black and then placed them against a dark background, effectively creating a cutout of them where all you could see was skin, eyes, hair.  This is the inverse of that, using white instead of black.
  • The white flower in Steph’s hair was over the top in hindsight, so when I processed the image I let it blow out to be less noticeable.  I did try removing it as well, but that left an odd gap on the right side of Steph’s head that looked funny at this angle.

 

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February 21 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Steph at 200

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.

Stephanie poses for a shot in the late afternoon sun.  The blonde hair makes her look a little bit like Charlize Theron.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 200mm f/2.0L IS USM

Composition and Processing

  • This was a bit of an experiment at the end of the shoot — the sun was going down and there wasn’t much light left to work with.  I had just purchased a 200mm prime lens I intended to use for sports, but wanted to see if the length was still within reason for a portrait.  I was also curious if the distance required to shoot with the lens meant I could still keep most of the face in focus at f/2.  While I was happy with the image quality overall, the compression from shooting at 200mm was a little too much.
  • I originally asked Steph to bring a bunch of solid black and solid white clothes to the shoot so we could try some images like this and this, where the clothing and background blends into one solid color and the subject is articulated by the skin and hair only.  That’s why she’s wearing what she’s wearing here.  We had already taken those shots, and with very little light left I simply took a piece of material and tacked it to the wall behind her.  I thought that would provide a good contrast in both texture and tone to the uniformity of her clothing and skin.

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February 13 2012 | Photography | No Comments »