The name of this installment is meant to be a joke, but anyone who follows the blog knows that I’m is a little bit color-obsessed. This image is a play on the highly popular orange and teal color scheme, using the complementary contrast between orange and cyan
There is one genre of photography that is black and white. There is another genre that is exactly the opposite and it is full of color. Today’s breakdown belongs to the second genre.
Being a full-time huge fan/buddy of the guys over at the RAWexchange store, I often get asked to check out their new material. Well friends, let me tell you that their newest endeavor to start selling in-depth tutorials is one of their best ideas yet. Stefan Kohler created a Colors & Photoshop tutorial that is two and a half hours video. And it’s jam-packed with everything you could ever hope to know about colors and how/why they work the way they do in Photoshop. Don’t be scared by the lengthy duration – it’s super-handily broken up into a bunch of smaller videos; each is about a different subject or a certain tool. That way you can absorb the info a bit at a time (because it is a lot), and then you can always jump back to reference one subject and re-watch just that video when you’re ready to give it a go. Some of the subjects he covers in the tutorial include…
- Gaining an understanding about what color is and how it works
- Understanding the principles behind color work and learn to apply it to your own images
- Learn what color harmonies and schemes are and how to apply them
- Additive and substantive color editing using blending modes
- Learn to use colors for complex masking (like selecting detailed lace)
- How to ‘fix’ photos with ‘bad’ color
- Techniques on color correcting and matching skin tones
- How to use curves to fix color issues in ways you may never have considered
Color plays an enormous part in how a movie makes us feel (or a photo for that matter). In fact, when you look back at a movie, one of the most prominent memories will be how it was colored. Maybe not on a conscious level, but the color palate ultimately gives a movie its feel.
Cinema Palettes breaks the color palate down from some poplar movies. This can serve as a great reference tool when you are seeking inspiration or wanting to set the look for a clip of your own.
Of course, the fact that a palette was a good fit for a moody or a happy film does not mean that it will be a great fit for YOUR moody or happy film, but it can help you gain insights on the connection between color and mood.
When used correctly, color can change the mood of the image, or impact the story. It can also draw the viewers eyes to a focal element. In the image below, digital colors are used effectively to focus your attention on the tube. And the controlled color palette also helps keep the image calm.
I pretty much shoot exclusively color images – I don’t know why, I just always tend to resonate towards color rather than a monochrome image. Maybe it was my formative years when I spent most of my days color printing in a darkroom. Anyway what I realized a few years ago, when I analysed a selection of my work was that that almost all of my images were composed from a very select group of color palettes. I guess this was done intuitively, maybe from my early years of color printing, or from my mis-spent youth at Art college, but from this point I have purposely tried to finesse and perfect the color palettes and theory in all my images.
So firstly I guess its important to lay down some basics. As photographers we are all aware of the Primary colors of Red, Blue & Green [RGB] and the printing Primaries, Yellow, Magenta and Cyan [CYMK including Black] but when thinking about my color palette I tend to think within the traditional Primaries as taught to painters and artists, Yellow, Red and Blue [YRB]. From these Primaries we can off course create secondary and Tertiary Colors. see the Goethe Color wheel below.
As the New Year rolls in, I find myself looking forward to new things—new directions, new goals, new relationships. But with the start of a new year also comes a time for reflection (literally) of what I’ve accomplished and how much I’ve progressed. As I perform my annual “house cleaning”—purging old work which isn’t up to snuff, and transferring the remaining photos to yet another new hard drive (I’m amassing quite the collection)—I’ve had the opportunity to put a fresh set of eyes on everything I’ve shot over the past year or so.
For me, this is always an extremely educational experience. This year in particular, in conjunction with the typical photography and post processing learning curve, has been one of a lot of experimentation and attempting to define my “style”, and my portfolio has seen a lot of progress as a result. But I find reflecting on this old work is critical to moving forward; by analyzing what does and doesn’t work in the images I have produced, I can further understand my own style and instill it (or avoid it) in future work.
Furthermore, in reviewing old images which may not have resonated with me initially, I gain a fresh perspective and may now see some in a new light (particularly as my post processing techniques improve); and vice versa, what may have excited meinitially now appears outdated and amateurish. Even so, some of those may even be salvageable with a new edit.
About two weeks ago, we hosted a workshop with the amazing Natalia Taffarel. Now, I am back at the studio and I am having some mixed feelings. Mixed because I’m highly motivated to do a change in my retouching workflow in a crazy way, and because I am overfilled with new input. On the other hand I do not want to see my previous portfolio ever again.
All things considered, I think that this is a positive outcome.Whatever I lacked on my previous work, I am going to add now… After I finished digesting this huge information load.
The first day of the workshop was an eye-opening experience and this is what I would like to focus on today. Mostly, because it fits well with what I repeatedly say: “Retouch only what bothers you most, dont Zoom in to 400% and start to retouch like crazy. Retouch the five things that bother you most. Then retouch the next five.”
At the end of the workshop, I am going to change my workflow. I think it would be right to say that it will be a “Colors and Look” workflow. And I am going to make this change full throttle. This is going to be a key factor behind the photos I retouch. Why? I’ll explain in more detail in the next few weeks – it is a long and interesting process.