Nik’s Analog Efex Pro… My opinion.

A few weeks ago Nik Software by Google released a new module as part of their Nik Collection. This module is called Analog Efex Pro and promises to give you the “look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses.” This update is free for existing owners of Nik’s software and was automatically updated and installed on my computer. If you are downloading the software for the first time it is simply part of the complete collection for $149, Nik does offer a 15 day trial before making the commitment to buy. I should point out that the Nik Collection is not a single program, rather a host of individual programs that must be launched from either Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture.

Analog Efex Pro
Analog Efex Pro

I have used Nik now for about a year and I really enjoy their Silver Efex Pro program for converting Color images to black and white. I (and most users of the program) feel it is one of better, if not the best, black and white converters on the market.  Other modules  that are useful are Color Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro, and Viveza. Each of these program offer Nik’s U Point technology to “selectively edit just the part of your photos that need touching up…” It works easily with great results.  The Sharpener Pro and Dfine programs tend to be redundant when using a program like Lightroom or Photoshop, which Nik must be launched from anyways. So I rarely use these programs.

Analog Efex Pro
Analog Efex Pro

Back to Analog… So now days there is a trend for digital shooters to try to regain some of the uniqueness of film that has been been lost in the sterile digital realm. I think we can all agree that most digital cameras now can produce images that are near perfect at pretty much any ISO under 1600, with some cameras going to crazy levels like Canon’s 5d mk iii’s 25,600 ISO with decent/usable results.  So we have reached all but “perfection” as far as laboratory defined image quality is concerned.  Yet, our laboratory perfect images can sometimes lack depth, punch, or the uniqueness that film provided. In come programs like Analog Efex Pro,  Visual Supply Company (VSCO), and DXO Film pack. Each of these programs promise to give back to us that lost uniqueness.  Each produce  varying results that have more to do with how digital images react to adjustments, vs how film would have behaved in similar conditions. VSCO tries to accommodate for these variations by providing + and – of each film type to fine tune the image. While Analog Efex and DXO provide custom sliders to make adjustments.

What I like about Analog Efex Pro… It is free or at least was included in an update to a program I purchased a year ago. The images it creates are unique, but not in a way that I would want to give to a client. It offers “fun” filters to make the image look like it was taken with an old plate camera, a toy camera,  or what they call “classic cameras”. Each with various levels of faux flaws, such as light leaks, dirt, distortion, etc.  I have been able to make some neat images with the program… again nothing I would expect a client to want, but again fun.

Analog Efex Pro
Analog Efex Pro

What I don’t like abut Analog Efex Pro… It is gimmicky and very much “instagram-come-lately.” I don’t really see much of a “pro” use for this software when compared with Silver Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro.  Analog Efex Pro relies heavily on preset “camera” profiles and give limitedadjustments to the end user. Also Analog Efex Pro lacks the U Point technology that works so well in the other modules.

Analog Efex Pro
Analog Efex Pro

What I would like to have… The effects that Analog Efex Pro tries to create should have been included in an update to Color Efex Pro. I would also like to see more adjustments to some of the filters available to the end user. I should be able to flip, rotate, and even make random light leaks, dust, and wet plates.

Analog Efex Pro
Analog Efex Pro

My Conclusion… I wouldn’t run out to buy the Nik Software for this module… I would run out and buy it again and again for Silver Efex Pro. Nothing comes close to the level of adjustments and customization it offers for converting and emulating classic black and white film.  Analog Efex Pro offers a fun way to edit photos and can create some neat results, but nothing worth delivering to clients. It is fun though… and there has to be some value in that.

 

Old Doors

So I’m always looking at doors. I can’t help it. As I drive around Peoria I’m constantly looking for places to shoot, I tend to be drawn these old doors. Most are old loading dock doors on 60-100 year old buildings. Most have been painted some bright color, most likely to inform the delivery drivers to “pull up to the BRIGHT GREEN door.”  Most of them haven’t been painted in 30 years,  with some sort of lead based paint I’m sure.  Some haven’t been painted at all and have been left to rust and/or rot.

A Blue Door in an old Industrial Area in Peoria County
A Blue Door in an old Industrial Area in Peoria County

I recently found this old blue door in an industrial part of Peoria County, just out side of Bartonville.

Anna and Ella in front of the blue door
Anna and Ella in front of the blue door

So why my infatuation with these lead-painted-rotting- doors? Well they typically create great backgrounds for photos.  Their bright colors, old character, and unique look creates a great backdrop to frame a subject. In some cases the doors can stand as a subject all of their own, other times they can highlight a color or theme.

A Jeep shot in front of a rusting door in the warehouse district.
A Jeep shot in front of a rusting door in the warehouse district.

The doors work well for People and for other things. Like my Jeep, in the picture above.

Friend's Children in front of a rusting door in the warehouse district.
Friend’s Children in front of a rusting door in the warehouse district.

This is a common door that is shot in the warehouse district.

My Daughters in front of a pealing door in Peoria's Warehouse District. Dressed for a dance recital.
My Daughters in front of a pealing door in Peoria’s Warehouse District. Dressed for a dance recital.

Not sure if they were crazy from getting their picture taken or the lead paint… 🙂

Another popular door in the City of Peoria
Another popular door in the City of Peoria

This loading door is all but gone… Replaced with random sheets of plywood, some painted… some not. It still creates a unique backdrop.

A popular door in the City of Peoria.
A popular door in the City of Peoria.

A very commonly shot door in Peoria’s warehouse district. The door is green, however, here I switched this image to Black and White because it is such a commonly shot door.

Ella in front of the blue door
Ella in front of the blue door
Anna in front of the blue door
Anna in front of the blue door
Anna in front of the blue door
Anna in front of the blue door
Ella in front of the blue door
Ella in front of the blue door

 

If you are interested in scheduling photos in or around the Peoria, IL area please contact me to schedule a time!