Visualize a Photo Before You Snap

I do this thing sometimes, where I see a photo before I take it. Usually I see it as a black and white image, because I’m focused on the beautiful or interesting light that’s caught my attention. Black and white makes light stand out, where color doesn’t compete for attention. Light play in black and white is so dynamic, so I’m always chasing the light.

For this image, I was at a mommy and me ballet class with my 3 year old daughter, and I noticed the way the morning light streamed in through the windows and glared on the shiny dance floor. Instantly, I wanted a photo. Yes, I was that mom: I grabbed my iPhone, and started snapping. I knew I’d have to do some cropping, because I wasn’t going to ask the people in the background to move. I knew it was going to be black and white, because of the interesting light pattern on the floor, and I knew her tutu would also look so lovely in black and white.

So, this is what I started with, and it’s not anything special.


Usually, I try and frame my images as I would want them in a final version, to minimize cropping, because cropping too much deteriorates the image quality. But, in this circumstance I had to snap quickly, so I did the best I could to capture the windows, floor, and my girl within the frame, knowing I could clean it up later.

Then, I used BLACK App to change it to black and white. (I am in LOVE with BLACK and wrote about it previously.)


I decided it was still too “messy” as-is. I love the windows, but I wanted the focus on the little tutu-clad girl, tugging at her ballet shoe, with the light dancing on the floor behind her, and the people, barre, bags, and tutus on the floor behind her were bugging me. I was also distracted by the piece of tape behind her, to the left, so I used TouchRetouch to remove it. Next, I cropped the photo in the most interesting way I could, while keeping the glare and the subject completely within the frame, yet cropping as little as possible to do so, getting the people and stuff in the background out, and keeping the ratio of the image close to the same.


And there you have it, the story behind one of my favorite photos, of one of my very favorite girls.