Special Effects are Subject Dependent

by | May 23, 2018

Today’s Post is by Joe Farace

Before the Dot Com bust, I wrote articles and monthly columns for several computer magazines and one of the concepts I dreamed up was “Farace’s Laws of the Computing Universe.” I figured if Murphy and Burke (my original inspiration) could have their own laws so could I. After I started writing exclusively about photography, I brought some of those laws into my magazine articles, books and blog posts.

One of the more important of Farace’s Laws of the Imaging Universe is that all special effects are subject dependent. A filter or effect that may look great for one kind of subject may not look so hot when applied to another, different subject.

And it just isn’t the subject matter that effects the final look but also how the image was made. Low or high key lighting and the overall mood of the photograph all respond differently to special effects filters and there’s only one to find out: Try it. As I discovered when originally testing Tiffen’s Dfx Digital Filter Suite that is no longer available; a replacement product is available from Digital Film Tools. But no matter what software you use the most important takeaway is that special effects are subject dependent.

The subject of today’s portrait is the wonderful Ashley Rae who has a classical look. You can see the original image above as captured and the special effect applied at left.

To produce a film noir look I applied Dfx’s Agfa APX 100 filter from DFX’s Film Stock menu then applied (to a new layer) Venetian Blinds from the Gobo filter found in the Light collection. These are many dozens of filters in this collection and some might be properly called cuculoris. But no matter what you call them, they are adjustable for placement.

The original image was shot with my old Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and the now-discontinued EF 135mm f/2.8 SF lens (that I still own and love) with an exposure of 1/160 sec at f/3.2 and ISO 400.

Trivia: A cuculoris is a device for producing patterned illumination and creates a natural look by breaking up the light from a man made source. It can be used to simulate movement by passing shadows or light coming through a leafy canopy or in this case, Venetian Blinds.



Joe is author of Joe Farace’s Glamour Photography that features information about using minimal equipment demonstrating how to shoot glamour portraits in available light situations or using minimal lighting like speedlights. New copies are available from Amazon.com for $23.95, with used copies selling for $15.17 as I write this.