Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Making Summer Color
In a season dominated by green, you can help the natural landscape with your camera, filters and the delicate use of Photoshop tools
Whether you work digitally or with filters, one of the most important things to remember when playing with color is that the effect works best when you try to enhance colors or moods that to some extent already exist in the scene. It’s difficult to make high noon look like sunset simply by putting an orange filter over the lens. Humans are visual creatures, and while many viewers may not be able to point out that the shadows are wrong for a sunset, they will be aware that something is off, and the image will just read wrong.
Digital offers much more control over how you use color, from specifically changing one single hue to selecting several colors and enhancing or desaturating them all with total control. Filters are a crude way to apply color as they’re unselective and apply their effect to the entire scene. Sometimes this can be useful, for example, if you’re trying to mimic the look of dusk or night. Placing a strong blue filter (80A) over the lens and underexposing by a stop will give a wash of blue to both highlights and shadows, echoing the colorcast often seen when shooting at those times of day.
These effects also can be done postshoot by using the White Balance controls in RAW processing software. The controls likely will show you the color temperature in Kelvin. The low numbers (2000-3200) are bluish and progress to a strong orange at the high end (5000-6000). It’s often fun just to play with these controls, working visually to see what creative effect they have on an image.
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