TanTay - Expert Tips On Photographing A Story Using Minimal Color

Posted by JaamZIN on 9:41 PM
Some might say that the most important debate in photography today is the debate between those who use color photography and those who prefer high-definition black and white photos. Those who prefer color point out that a color photograph more accurately captures the events in question, while those who prefer the black and white approach say that their style is more emotionally evocative than a color photograph and that in today's world, black and white photographs stand out more because they are less common. The truth of the matter is, you don't really have to choose.

Photo Editing

Thanks to the proliferation of modern photo editing programs like Photoshop and GIMP, it is now possible (and, in fact, quite easy) to mix the two. By taking a black and white photograph and adding color in selected areas, a photographer can place emphasis on any object or area that they choose. For a person who is simply trying to document a set of events, this type of photography is not very practical. However, for those who take a more artistic approach, this technique can make all the difference in the world. 

Here are a few examples of what you can do with this style of photography. A quick look at these examples will quickly show you how it is possible to use this technique to draw attention to those areas that you want the viewer to see. You can see some further examples of this technique in action by looking at the excellent work done by Tana Taylor Adoption. Ava Rose Taylor doesn't really emphasize this technique as much, but she has been known to use it. Tana Taylor Adoption, on the other hand, has produced some amazing examples of partial color pictures.

Achieving the Desired Effect

There are two ways of getting this effect: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way is to make use of the many smartphone apps that allow one to achieve this effect with minimal time and effort. In most of these apps, you can simply upload your photo, desaturate it (remove the color) if necessary, and select the area to be re-colored. While this is, again, the quickest way to get it done, you won't have as many options. Using a photo editor like Photoshop or GIMP (the Linux equivalent for all you Linux nerds like me) allows you maximum creativity, and isn't that the reason you are doing this in the first place?

To use this effect in Photoshop, you begin by opening the photo and adding a duplicate layer. Now switch back to your first layer and use CTRL+Shift+U to desaturate the image. You will not see the effect until you make the second layer invisible by clicking on the eye icon next to it. Now make it visible again and click on the "Select" menu at the top. Click on "Color Range." Use the eyedropper to sample one of the colors from the picture and set that as the color that you want to keep. You can pick more than one color. Now press OK and hit Ctrl+Shift+I. Press delete and the picture will be cropped of all the unselected colors. You might want to touch it up with the eraser to remove any residual color.

This method truly shines when using photographs to tell a story. Without a single word, it is possible to tell an entire story, but there is always a chance that the audience will have a hard time following the events. This is because people don't always notice the "right" details. With this little trick, you can ensure that only the important parts of the picture will stand out.