Daily Photo – Andrea

One of the very first studio lighting shoots I did was courtesy of Trey Ratcliff, and the setting was his office in downtown Austin. Another photographer and friend of his, Andrea, agreed to be the model for the afternoon.

Trey’s office had a nice brick wall on one side. The bricks themselves weren’t very interesting, but I figured they’d be perfect to try some texture experiments with later in Photoshop.


  • Shutter: 1/250
  • Aperture: f/11
  • ISO: 100
  • Camera: Canon EOS 1ds Mark III
  • Lens: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
  • Lighting: One AB camera left in a 42″ umbrella; another camera right also in a 42″ umbrella (and further back, acting as fill).


Setup (from a similar shot, except the light positioning is reversed; that’s Trey shooting):

Composition and Processing

  • The background was processed on a separate layer. I didn’t actually apply a texture to it, just used some of the more funky effects from Nik Color Efx to generate the colors. I’ve said it before, but one of the big advantages of plug-ins like Nik is the ability to rapidly test a diverse set of effects, particularly if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. In this case I settled on something that fit the Andrea’s color tones (shirt/skin), while still providing some range in brick color relative to the original.
  • For Andrea, I used Nik’s Glamour filter, which gave her a a softer look (and a bit of a glow). It would have been easy to go overboard here, but since I’d increased the contrast on the background (to show off the texture more), making her too soft would have been noticeable to the eye. In the final result I think both are complimentary (i.e. the higher contrast background makes the softer subject stand out, but the texture of the wall also draws the eye a little relative to the subject).
  • I had some issues with the mask and getting an edge that worked well with the glamour filter. After a while I got impatient with it and moved on, but if you look closely (or maybe not so closely), you can see a minor halo on some parts of her.

September 16 2008 08:02 pm | Photography

2 Responses to “Daily Photo – Andrea”

  1. Vermelho on 23 Sep 2008 at 4:16 pm #

    Why did you use the 85mm f1.2 at f11?

  2. KG on 24 Sep 2008 at 1:46 am #

    f/11 and 1/250 were the proper exposure for the lighting (although f/8 might have been better judging by the underexposure of the original).

    While one of the benefits of the 85 f/1.2 is the super shallow depth of field, it’s actually the sharpest lens I own (nevermind phenomenal contrast and saturation). For that reason, it’s my default lens if there’s room to shoot with it and the composition doesn’t require some other lens effect (greater compression, wide angle, etc).

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