Article Excerpt: “What makes an image colorful? Is it the mere presence of bright colors, or is it something more than that? Color isn’t always about having bright reds and striking blues. It results from creating color contrast in your photos and using complementary colors whenever you can…Let’s not make this more complicated than it needs to be. Complementary colors are different colors that, when placed next to one color, increase the total color contrast in the image. But a complementary can’t just be a different shade of one color…It needs to be a different type of color altogether.”~David Peterson from his article Make Your Photos More Colorful with Complementary Colors
There are two types of contrast used in photography. First is the tonal contrast, mostly used in black and white photography. It is the variance between the light and dark parts of an image. In between the white and black are various tonal range, think of it as gradations of gray. The second type is color contrast. Looking at the color wheel you will see the colors near each other and those directly opposite. Color theory and concepts are complicated matters. I think there are even courses on these. It’s because colors and their relationship with one another are important to a lot of people and their profession such as designers, painters, graphic and visual artists. It is a primary element of design, and even in areas of advertising, marketing and promotion, color plays an important role. It creates mood, emotions, character, temperament and personality. Needless to say, the importance is carried in color photography. Understanding colors and how they complement and interact with each other will greatly help in composition. In an earlier post we touched on selective focus to emphasize a subject. You can do likewise with color contrast. A green apple in a red background or surrounding will stand out. In the color wheel, those colors that are directly opposite each other are called complementary colors. Of course the just mentioned example will also work the other way around – a red subject against a predominantly green background. So will yellow against violet or blue. Such as in the picture above. The yellow rubber ducky will get your attention not only because it seems to be looking at you but also because it is set in a blue surrounding. You get to highlight your subject with the deliberate use of color contrast. Now spotting this situation in the real world will need some getting used to, especially for those starting out. But for the keen photographer, he will easily notice a subject that stands out because of its color in relation to its background. He is trained to scan, spot and notice. After all, the first code of photographers is not to shoot, but to observe. Get a more detailed understanding of our topic by reading the article How Contrast Affects Your Photos by David Peterson, founder of online site Digital Photo Secrets.
The above piece is from the “Citylines” series at Junsjazz Art & Vision blog. The problem (if you can call it that) with these artworks is that I cannot “recreate” them; they are one time creations. Though I have the base composite image, when I try again to go through the exact process of applying creative filters and effects, the result is just not the same with the original piece. Unlike in photography when you apply the same editing process, you get the same result over and over again with a particular image. I guess that’s the individuality of art, the are meant to be created once. Afterwards you go on conceptualize and make another. There are no replicas and duplicates, which makes every original artwork a unique creation. Thank you my friends for the likes, visits, comments and follows in the less-than-a-week-old art blog. If you have time, hop over there. There is almost nothing to read in that blog, but you’ll have a whole visual world of colors to take in.~JJ
Article Excerpt: “Selective focus can play several roles in an image. First, it can direct the viewer to the subject, or show the depth of the subject in better detail. It plays an editorial role: in-focus objects could be said to have primacy over blurry parts of the image. Sometimes a very narrow depth of field can create a sense of intimacy, exclusion, and solitude. Selective focus expresses the authorial voice of the photographer, since it is a deliberate choice. (In contrast, a scene with everything in focus often has the effect of removing the appearance of the photographer’s “voice” in the image.)…having a narrow depth of field is very “photographic” and abstract — it is an effect that humans do not experience in the real world, since our eyes are so quick to focus on other objects. Sometimes removing detail information can direct the viewer’s attention to other relationships inside the image, such as lighting, texture or shape.”~J.Gilbert from his article The Power of Selective Focus
Put simply, if you really want to throw the background out of focus, get really close to your main subject.~Jim Richardson (Photo location: a shooting buddy during a trip to Guimaras island, Philippines)
We’ve learned in many previous posts that composition is the process of elimination. Simplify, do away with the clutter, and place attention on the subject. One of the most popular techniques in doing this, and quite easy to learn too, is selective focus – keep the subject clear and sharp, and blur out the rest in the picture. This can be done in two ways, either in-camera or later during post-processing. The latter however doesn’t give you much control and, unless you’re adept at photo editing, the image may look “retouched.” Doing it in-cam during shooting gives a more natural-looking result. And its fun and easy to do anyway. Your camera can even do it automatically for you, or you can opt to do it manually with full control over aperture and range of focus. Now this is as much technical as it is creative, and we turn over the technical side to the expert – Jim Richardson, photojournalist and long-time National Geographic photographer. In his many photography articles at the NatGeo site, one of them – Out of Focus – On Purpose – deals with our topic. Give yourself a couple of minutes to read his enlightening tips on matters such as controlling F-stop, the importance of distance between subject matter and background, choosing the appropriate background, getting a longer lens, and many others. The point in learning selective focus is that it highlights and gives emphasis on your subject. It can be very useful in a wide variety of shooting situations – portraits, landscapes, city scenes, even events such as the bikers parade in the above picture. For festivals and street events I use my 75-300mm lens which provides me the capability to zoom in and focus on my main subject, which in the photo is the lead biker. All those behind him fades out on various levels of blur. On the photo below, the focus is on my nephew showing the lanzones fruit he picked off the tree in the yard. His cousins who helped him in the harvesting are softly out of focus at the back. This type of creative technique is so popular that there is a whole line of lenses exclusively manufactured for the purpose of producing selective focus, selective blur and tilt-shift effects. You’ve probably heard of Lensbaby. But you don’t have to buy their $300 to $400 lens. You can create selective focus images with the camera and lens you have now. Oh you know what to do: practice.
The above is from the “Floral” series, a sample of the many creations I did when I started photographing years ago. In my youth I painted using watercolors and acrylic. When the camera became my brush, I continued my art but in the photographic way. It was when trying out various image editing softwares that I was able to merge photos, apply styles and effects and come up with “digital art.” All are based on photos I took. I have a sizeable collection of these creations that for a long time were tucked away in my hard disk. Now they are presented to the world through their own home, the Junsjazz Art & Vision blog. If you have time I invite you to visit the blog and immerse yourself in a world of brilliant colors, moody darkness, surreal concepts, runaway imagination and unrestrained creativity. Thanks! Happy midweek my blogger peers!