Before and After Picture | Wednesday Weekly Favorites

I am declaring Wednesdays on this blog to be “Wednesday Weekly Favorites”. This week’s Favorite Photograph of mine is actually my favorite photograph from 2009. Surprise it is of our daughter Chyler. I was in the delivery room with my Nikon D3 fitted with the 35 f/2 strapped around my neck. I had the camera set to Aperture Priority mode at f/2.8 and ISO set to 2000. I wanted to make sure I could use a FAST shutter speed (1/250) to freeze the action of her arrival. My results are below.

This image is straight out of the camera (web sharpened only). If this was all I could do with the image, I would be completely excited! The work that the camera did for me was nothing short of beautiful.


ISO 2000
Aperture Priortiy Mode
Shutter Speed 1/250
No Flash Fired

Even though the camera did an amazing job, I wanted to fine tune the image a little bit, to draw the attention right to Chyler. Below is my tweaked version.


Here is what I did:

1. Slightly cropped the image for a little composition tweak.
2. Converted the image to a Black and White using Alien Skin Exposure 2 (Ilford Delta 100)
3. Burned around the edges, especially the lower left corner (because it was so brightly white)
4. Added a little bit of film grain using a grain layer I have.
5. Resized for Web
6. Sharpened For Web
7. Saved.   

You will find that I love Black and White, especially for documentary coverage. I can’t help it… It is an addiction. I blame Life Magazine for the inspiration. I love the way a black and white image pulls your attention to the moment and doesn’t distract with the colors. Beauty….

What are some of your favorite photographs before and after?

Comments 6

  1. Personally I think I like the first image, not because of the editing but simply because I saw it first. I do like the crop (gotta get that guys nose outta there!). I think the B&W makes it more subtle but the original color is raw and real. Pic 1 is my vote.

  2. Great job David. I like both images but I agree with you – BW is better in this case. But most importantly it’s important to capture it right on camera. Thanks for the great tip bro!

  3. Great moment, David. I’ve photographed births (my daughter along with some friends children) so I know how hard it is to keep your composure at that amazing time. It really is a miracle!

    Nice tones on the conversion. Very film feeling.

    However, on your photo, I could crop it even tighter. All you really need is that precious baby in the doctor’s hands to know what’s going on. The impact is in her face so make it big in the frame! There’s a whole lot of wasted real estate surrounding the center of interest. I’m reminded of a quote from Magnum photographer Robert Capa, “if you photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough!”

    Take care buddy!

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