5 Points on Selective Coloring


Sometimes a photo can be quite dull to look at. Maybe you feel that there is “too much going on” in it. By carefully selecting the colors you want when you shoot the photo you also decide what kind of mood to give it. Allthough, not everything can be made as you want it when your out on a new location. So thank goodness for Photoshop (or in my case; PaintShop). I'm going to give you a few examples of how I use selective coloring to make a photo turn out just a little better.

1. Add or remove I often find myself removing rather than adding color, as this is the easier way to go and it looks more natural. In the photo above you'll find the original to the left and the final result to the right. With white horses the yellow shades are almost impossible to remove (in real life). I bet some of you know what I'm talking about ;) In almost every photo of a white horse I mute the yellows and this one is no exeption. I've had to single out Baco (the horse) so that Marion (the model) didn't lose her skintone. She would have looked pretty ready for halloween otherwise! I've also marked up the sky behind them and tuned the cyan color to become more blue. Under Bacos stomach I've cloned away the trees and replaced them with the sky. You can see the green tones from the trees reflecting on Bacos stomach – so I had to mute the greens in that area. And that's that :) Even though the photo has less colours now it looks like it has more!

2. Make it match! When humans join the photo they usually have clothes on... :) This clothing should either compliment the color of the horse or the color of the surroundings. In this example of Villemo and D'Artanjan I've chosen to change the color of Villemo's sweater. The eyes are much more comfortable when looking at the photo where her sweater matches the sky. And since blue is the complimentary colour to orange, we're in luck and get to match both!

3. Winter blues.. In January I had the coldest photoshoot ever, finishing at -25C! But it was totally worth it! Elise brought her horse and her pony to this beautiful spot where the sun glimmered through the snowy trees behind us. I remember the sun warming us quite a bit which was very nice since it was so freakin' cold :) However, looking at the result at home I didn't see any signs of warmth. If you have a look at the photo on top, it's completely unedited – except for the signature ofcourse. To create the feeling I had when I was standing there photographing these two sweethearts, I had to tone down the cold colours. Cyans are muted and the blues are toned down. The bottom photo shows the final result and is the most true to how I felt and how it looked with my own two eyes – not looking through a lens.

4. Mix it up! Sometimes you just have to get creative and try out some new stuff! The photoshoot I had with Matilde Brandt last fall was really great and I was very happy with the result. Allthough, I felt that the series became a little monotone due to the red cape we used. But with color of the cape standing out like that, it was easy to manipulate.. ! Using the magic wand and selecting only Matildes red cape I could use the Hue & Saturation tool to modify the color.

5. Seasons are changing The autumn colors can be really spectacular here in Norway but they don't always arrive at the right time! And the time before autumn it can be really boring with this pale green colour everywhere. Again it's about setting the mood! When a client books the photosession we cannot always be lucky with the surroundings or the wheather conditions – so we make the best of it! The left photo below is the original and the right one is the finished result. I've turned the greens into a brownish yellow to match the horse. The tones are subtile and soft and gives this photo a more dreamy feel to it :) If you look closely you'll also notice there is a shade of cyan on her dress which is muted in the right photo.

That's all for this time folks! I hope you liked the blog, and perhaps learnt something from it too :) I appreciate all feedback, both positive and negative, so please leave a comment! If you have any questions about the blog (or anything else) feel free to ask :) I wish you all the best, and thank you for reading! Best regards from Anette :)

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