When Adobe first announced their subscription plans for Lightroom and Photoshop, I quickly joined the torch holders and stick wavers. How dare they come up with such a thing, right? Who are these fools willing to pay a monthly fee for access to their beloved software? And, of course, I am not talking about you Mr. Hook.
Well, count me in as one of these fools.
So what got me hooked up (no pun intended Matey!). Shockingly to most torch burners: price. Let’s get out our solar-powered Casio calculators for a minute. Adobe charges $9.99 monthly for the Photography subscription. Let’s leave aside the fact that this amounts to a cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant from your local Starbucks. In a year, you would be forking out $119.88. Yeah this sounds a bit steep right? Well, let’s dig in. Photoshop CS6 currently has a price tag of $420 big ones. Lightroom 5 is a little easier on your pockets at a nicely priced $80. That is a hefty $500 you have to drop like it’s hot a the time you get them both. Well, I’m thinking I can hold off to that cup and french pastry every month. But it get’s better. Even for the amateur, if you like photography, you already have these two software or at least they are under your radar. And you want the most up to date, without of course breaking the bank so you (and me before subscribing) only update every two years. During that time, you just check magazines to see what is new with the new releases and patiently wait for the next one after to pull out your wallet. In this scenario, your $500 would equal to $20.83 per month. That is $500 over a period of 24 months. Hmmm, right? That is more than twice the price of the monthly subscription.
Signing up for Creative Cloud and one enjoys the benefits of always staying up to date and having the latest shenanigans that keeps our souls full of joy. So it is all joy and happiness, right? Wrong! Here is the fine print kick in the butt… If you decide to cancel your membership, you will lose the software after 30 days. That’s right, even if you have already paid 10, 15 months. On the other hand, if you opt for purchasing your software, you will keep it yours forever and ever, even if it’s 200 years old.
So, should one go with purchasing or membership? Well, I went for the last one. I know I will want to upgrade after a couple years, so why not pay less and be up to date all the time. Of course, this marriage will last until I decide that I do need that extra cup of coffee and chocolate croissant every month. Until then, I am as happy as muddy mudskipper.
Taken while studying Paramount lighting techniques, or Butterfly lighting because of the shape of the slight shadows achieved under the nose of the model. I had the model facing straight at the camera for most pictures taken during this session to really get a hold of the technique, once achieved, I asked the model to turn slightly to the left. With the light setup the same, I simply reduced the power on my single strobe to produce a much dimmer light and reduce the falloff around her.
Post processing involved skin, hair and eyes treatment, and Lr to turn the photo mono and add the final effects.
From the instance I saw the picture, I though I saw La Gioconda.
XE1/60mm XF – B800/Gold Reflector – Butterfly Lighting
So I decided to try the Butterfly or Paramount lighting technique. I am very surprised I have never tried it before as it is such a simple setup but yields really high glamorous results. It requires a key light high above the model pointing down to illuminate the face, and a reflector right under the camera to soften the shadows. That simple. I could have used a second strobe or flashgun to add light to the model’s hair but I really wanted to focus on the face and pretty much fade everything else. Some light post processing and you have a beautiful portrait.
Maybe I am going old fashion but I really dig a good looking, well made pair of shoes. The way all these intricate pieces of leather go together to give form and texture.
Sometimes going back to basics can get you that one shot you were looking for. A single light through a rectangular softbox. Get it close to the model. Put aside the shyness and get closer and closer too. Get the eyes sharp, textbook. Tilt the head and open the mouth a little. Shot. Repeat. Then, time for the digital darkroom. And a cup of coffee.
Lately I have been possessed by the works of George Hurrell. I am using a single strobe through a cone modifier, creating hard shadows. Beautiful. But not enough.