Death and Taxes – The Occasional Upside

Benjamin Franklin once remarked that “in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes”. Whilst there is not much of an upside to death (depending on whether you believe all that mumbo-jumbo about the utopian afterlife…), the unfortunate certainty of paying taxes does provide an occasional upside; the income tax refund.

Sure, not paying the tax in the first place would be the ideal situation, but the uplifting feeling experienced from an unexpected large lump sum tax return is so much more satisfying. And thanks the double whammy of a combined UK and Australian tax refund (the UK tax office is not renown for its hasty payments; this was for the 2005/06 tax year) I ended up with the equivalent of an extra month’s salary that I wasn’t expecting. I left the money sitting in my account for months whilst I worked out how to make the best use of this unexpected windfall. In the end I spent a large chunk of it on some home decorations.

Spot the difference.

My front room before:
my front room - before

My front room after:
my front room - after

This is the difference, just in case you couldn’t spot it.

Have been trying to fit in a few evenings of doing test shots to try out some lighting set-ups in amongst all the gigs and it’s been exciting and fun having my own studio set up to play with.

I also bought a cheap background set, although am regretting taking the cheaper option of fabric backgrounds a bit as they need a bit of post-work to get rid of some of the creases, especially those on the floor for the full length shots. Nothing too major though and I guess I’ll have to live with it for now. And it’s not a problem on half-length shots.

The test shots have just been a case of quickly setting up the background and lights, getting my girlfriend to stand there for a couple of minutes, running between the lights tweaking the power and direction and getting a few shots. Then changing the whole set-up and trying a different combination of lights, modifiers until we got bored. This is what the first tests looked like.

Full length portrait (although I managed to miss a few creases on the floor…)
Susannah - Full Length

Half-length portrait = no problems
Susannah Half-Length

The lighting set-up was one light with a reflector to the left-hand side onto the background to blow it out and a shoot through umbrella on the balcony slightly to the right-hand side of the camera as the key light. This key light was probably about 14 or 15 feet above floor level. I really need to start keeping a journal of the set-ups so that I can note the position and power settings for next time….

I did a photoshoot over the weekend with The Holy Bible so I’ll probably blog about that and put some pictures up over the next week or two.

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