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» 2009 » January

Archive for January, 2009

Daily Photo – Jen in Black and 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.

Here’s another one from the Jen shoot in December, once again taking advantage of the late afternoon light streaming through south facing windows.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Original:

Composition and Processing

  • I wanted something a bit softer than the hard sunlight coming in through the windows, so I set a 6′ x 6′ scrim in the window.  That was just enough to cover the couch section and Jen, softening the light substantially.  The strip of light on the wall vanished during processing, which was convenient, although I would have liked to lose the one at the bottom of the image too.  I also got lazy about removing the edge of the scrim in the finished shot, but it turned out to be more work than I was willing to devote to this image.
  • Jen probably wouldn’t like me to say this, but one of her better looks is “pissed off”.  I typically start a shoot asking a model to make a number of different faces (angry, sad, curious, etc).  Whether they’re able to do that or not doesn’t matter, but it does give me a range of different looks to ask them for later.  With some models you have to constantly get them to open their eyes more;  Jen, however, has huge eyes.  That’s to her advantage, except when it doesn’t fit the shot.  By asking her to look angry, her eyes closed slightly, creating the look you see here.

January 21 2009 | Photography | 1 Comment »

Daily Photo – Zack in Science Magazine

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.

I took this shot last spring of my friend Zack Simpson, and it apparently wound up in the December 19th issue of Science (as part of a profile piece on Zack).  I believe the concept was Zack’s;  I’ve included a couple variations below.

Exposure (projector lighting)

  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Exposure (studio lighting)

  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon 85mm f/1.2L II USM
  • Lighting:  Canon 580EX II in 60″ softlighter camera left and up;  reflector in Zack’s hands

Final – Projector Lit:

Original – Projector Lit:

Final – Studio Lit:

Original Foreground – Studio Lit:

Original Background – Studio Lit (for that shot, not the lighting):

Composition and Processing (Projector Lit Shot)

  • The goal was to get the text on Zack without it making him look like an alien.  We tried a number of different looks, but ultimately decided to just display it on his shirt.  To achieve that, we opened several code windows, with a blank one in the upper right where it fell on his face (the text on his shirt isn’t from the same window as the text in the background).
  • Positioning the projector at an angle served a couple purposes:  first, it gave us a more appealing light on his face (i.e. not straight on, although a little fill could have helped the nose shadow);  second, it helped stretch the wall shadow far enough to the right that it could be cropped out of the final shot.
  • This was shot fairly wide open – at f/2 – in order to insure a bright enough exposure.  That blew out the background just enough to separate it from the subject, but not so much you couldn’t tell it was some sort of text (and likely the same as on his shirt).  Unintentional, but a nice bonus.

Composition and Processing (Studio Lit Shot)

  • In this instance I wanted more natural lighting on Zack (read:  regular studio lights), but doing so would blow out the wall image.  Even flagging it heavily looked too washed out.  So I took two separate shots and combined them:  one with the softlighter and no projector;  the other of the background with just the projector light.
  • The lighting for this shot is more appealing, but far less interesting than the projector shot (likewise for the pose).  I left it cropped wide so Zack could adjust it as he saw fit.

January 20 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Brigitte in Color

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.

This shot of Brigitte was taken the same day as this one, before we lost the sun and had to switch to studio lighting.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Original:

Composition and Processing

  • The setup was fairly simple for this:  use the setting sun to backlight the subject and illuminate the hair.  That’s not how I processed it though — instead, I let the background blow out, which really gave the scene a nice airy feel to match the casual pose and expression.
  • It’s probably not as obvious in the shot above, but what really makes this work in larger versions is the eyes.  They’re razor sharp and staring straight at the camera — it’s the first place you look in the image.  While there are plenty of good exceptions, anytime I shoot a subject at a shallow depth of field (f/2.8 or wider), I always make sure the eyes are in the plane of focus.

January 18 2009 | Photography | 4 Comments »