Archive for March, 2012

Before And After — All Threes, And Maybe Some Twos…

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.

A patch of green three leaf clovers in Big Basin State Park, along the Skyline to the Sea trail.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/60
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • This felt like a shot that should be pretty flawless as far as the subject goes.  Patching the chewed up leaves on the right, not to mention the larger gaps on both the top and right, was more work than necessary for this image.  So I simply cropped in tighter and removed some of the twigs and dirt on the rest of the leaves.
  • There’s no specific focus to this image, the eye simply wanders.  It’s all pattern and color.  Given that, I really punched up the green.  Shots like these are always the ones I look back on years later and cringe at the processing, but for now I’m ok with it.

Original:


March 28 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Heather at Cafe Dance

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.

Heather rehearses for the KDH Dance Company.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 3200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (at 153mm)

Composition and Processing

  • So I know I’ve given all kinds of reasons in the past about why I stick to black and white for rehearsal photos, particularly at this location, and I’ve given a couple key exceptions that favor color instead.  This is actually a fine black and white photo.  But how can you resist all that color?  I further went down the magenta spectrum by adjusting the white balance that way, and then used a bleach bypass filter in Photoshop to make the skin a little less pink and give it a more gritty feel (I did another version without that, but it was too pastel).
  • I cropped this vertically to remove distractions and make the shot a bit more personal.  Most of the lines run north/south too, including the gaze.  I think if the hand didn’t join the inward bent hip at the bottom, there may have been a tendency for the viewer to start at the face and run straight down and off the bottom of the image.  But the “trap” at the bottom, with hand bent flat, keeps them in the scene.

Original:


March 26 2012 | Photography | 1 Comment »

Before and After — Paola in Black and 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.

Paola poses in the late afternoon sun.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/400
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Composition and Processing

  • It’s pretty common practice to apply some degree of smoothing to the skin when you process a portrait shot.  There are lots of great methods and tools for doing this (I favor the Portraiture plug-in for Photoshop), but the risk of overdoing it is that you lose all skin texture and your model turns into a plastic mannequin.  In this case I went really light on it and manually touched up a few spots in order to preserve the nice gradients resulting from the lighting setup and Paola’s inherent skin tones.  On a pale blonde that might not have worked so well.
  • This is a pretty conventional pose, but a useful one.  The arms both fold back up toward the face, leading the eye in that direction.

Original:


March 04 2012 | Photography | 1 Comment »