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Thank you for interesting in our services. We are a non-profit group that run this website to share documents. We need your help to maintenance this website. Please help us to share our service with your friends. Share Embed Donate. Everything written here is based on my own photographic experiences, analysis of the work of some photographic masters as well as long chats with other photographers, creative people from the field of visual arts and even a psychologist.
The mood would essentially remain the same — overall sombre, livened up and energized by the red of the car. The story, however, would change. Or I could do the opposite; keep the red toy car and preserve the mood at the expense of the story. Everything ultimately depends on what you consider more important for the overall purpose of the image. I would call those kinds of images emotion- or mood-driven photographs, in which color becomes the most essential element within the frame.
I have included two such photographs to illustrate what I am talking about. The color just kind of overwhelms you and captivates, creating a world of its own. Now, imagine either one of these photographs in black and white. The fact that they work as well as they do is a testament to just how powerful color can be.
With emotions and moods things tend to get a little more subjective, so you will want to ask more friends or to wait for more people to share their thoughts online. The reason I mention 1X. To put it very simply and bluntly — having less colors is actually good for your photographs. The same tendency can be witnessed in quality advertisements print and motion and you may have picked up on the fact that a lot of the images from the photographers who I suggested to look up on page 6 also have very few distinct colors.
Having less colors is actually good for your photographs.
We will have a closer look at five different photographs with a limited color palette, accompanied by brief discussions on how I made color work in each one to convey a mood and a story. The green is evocative of that energy and vitality and the overall earthy uniform feel of the colors within the frame works well to evoke the sense of harmony. The absence of any distinctly warm, vivid colors and the domination of the frame by shades of grey, which are usually associated with more sombre emotions, as well as a subdued blue color — usually associated with coolness — helped me achieve this aim.
The story is about sheep on the outskirts of a village going off to graze over a field of frozen grass. I made sure not to frame any colors that would detract from that; i.
The minimal color palette allowed me to concentrate on the action. Nothing except for the man making bread with the cigarette in his mouth demands much attention, but with time everything becomes quite apparent. This works well because the image is primarily about the baker doing his thing and smoking, everything else has about an equal role, secondary within the story. The story is very straightforward — a turtle is gliding through the water while a snorkeller watches in the distance.
Due to being in strong contrast to the water, the turtle gets the most attention and we can easily see the gliding motion it makes with its wing-like fins. The snorkeller is a secondary detail to the story and the minimal palette of similar colors allows his dark figure to be seen.
The story is about everyday life — a woman looks at the world from her doorway, while a dog sleeps on a step. This is of course only partially true. A lot of this conflict or contrast basically results in a disorientating and confusing viewing experience.
Both the mood and the story become unclear or even lost. If we can, however, create some sort of order amidst the different colors within the frame the problem can be solved and we can make photographs full of different colors work effectively.
In other words not similar colors like blue, light blue, aqua blue, etc. Naturally when a myriad of colors stop conflicting and competing with each other for our attention, they become much easier for our brains to manage, to process and to make sense of.
Such patterns, whether already existing or made by the photographer through the choice of framing, will by default liven up the mood of a photograph and create a sense of energy. We can, however, work the pattern into the story in a variety of ways, without having any of the multitude of colors detract from the important elements.
Color patterns in practice Far from every colorful scenario will be suitable for becoming a pattern within the frame or anything close to it. Here are two examples to give you an idea. This single element is composed in a way that allows it to dominate the frame. It is then used as a backdrop for the woman, who instantly stands out because she is made up of only two simple colors which contrast strongly with the pattern of multiple colors remember the principle of visual weight here.
The idea is similar in the bottom image, but used differently. Only this time, it is the colorful single whole which stands out against the much plainer colors dominating the frame. We control it to an extent through the decisions we make, such as when to shoot and in which kind of light to shoot.
Once we are in front of a particular scene ready to frame it, we decide just how to frame it, where to position ourselves or whether or not to interfere with it and rearrange certain elements, so that everything within the frame conveys what we want. Light and color Light and color Light and color are inevitably linked. In fact, color is actually reflected light, and light is not visible until it is reflected off something or somebody.
In practical terms and ones which are relevant to the ebook, the color in any given situation is always affected by the light in that situation. What this means for our purposes is that understanding just how light affects color gets us closer to controlling it color in our photographs.
The color in any given situation is always affected by the light in that situation. This section is an illustrated guide to the different lighting scenarios and to how they affect and change color. It is also a look at the practical implications of what the changes can mean for our photography.
When the sun is closer to the horizon, everything the light illuminates takes on a deep orange tinge bottom right image , which gets less intense as the sun makes its ascent top right. During the orange tinge stage different colors begin to look similar uniform ; you can see this in the images on the right side.
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Note how strong the presence of deep and lighter orange tinges has become in these shots. When the sun is a little further above the horizon, the tinge turns to yellow. You can see that in the bottom left image. More of this on page It occurs between dawn and sunrise, sunset and dusk.
There are three types of twilight — civil, nautical and astronomical. During the brighter stages of twilight, the colors are fairly dull, but are still quite distinct top right. As it gets darker, the colors fade and become darker too bottom images. In these cases the elements illuminated by the light from the colorful clouds may take on a slight tinge of the same colors.
If there are no colorful clouds in the sky, the tinge is greyish-blue. Astronomical twilight is basically the coming of darkness, the time when stars appear in the sky. To the naked eye everything simply looks dark, but shooting on long exposure reveals very toned down color with a strong presence of that greyish-blue tinge bottom right.
In both situations, when the light is fairly bright, it is neutral and there is no significant tinge to the colors — they are all fairly intact and distinct from each other. The top image is a good example of this.
As it gets darker, for example during a really cloudy day or in a strong shade, the tinge starts to get slightly grey, but the colors remain distinct. Even with really heavy clouds the colors may appear dull, but are still fairly distinct. The only time this changes is when it gets really dark — if we are shooting in the shade indoors for instance.
Bright sunlight What I am specifically referring to here is the light produced by the sun which has already made a significant ascent above the horizon.
Captivating Color - A Guide to Dramatic Color Photography
The colors are distinct from each other, at the same time they are not vivid, quite the opposite — the bright sunlight has a bleaching effect and makes everything look relatively dull generally, the further up the sun is, the more dull.
The bottom photo showcases this well and the comparisons of photographs on page 34 should give you an even better idea of just how dramatically the color changes under the bleaching, bright sunlight. When firelight is the single light source, all the colors around it basically become shades of orange and yellow bottom images.
When there is another light source like a lamp or daylight top right the presence of oranges becomes less strong, while the original colors of the subjects remain more intact. If we have any say over where the subject is in relation to the firelight, we can, to an extent, control the color in the scene. In a sense that was what I did with the images here.
In all cases I waited for the moment when the subjects would illuminate themselves with the firelight by moving closer to it. The further the subject is from the surface thus the light source and the further you are from the subject, the more it loses its original color and the stronger the tinge becomes top right. Fog The light on foggy days has a similar effect to light underwater in that the further away you are from the subject and the thicker the fog, the more the original colors are lost.
Things are a little different when it comes to the tinge, however. The tinge that a foggy situation will produce will depend on what time of day it is and on how much the sun is blocked by the clouds. It will basically suck out the original colors and make everything in the scene look warm bottom left. These tinges can lead to some really dramatic results as is the case with the jellyfish image bottom right and they can make colors look more uniform and similar to each other.
Here are a couple of example scenarios. A cool, mysterious feel on the other hand might be best conveyed during twilight, with its dark tones and bluish tinge. And now about the conveying of stories part. Exercise Find a subject which you can photograph through different stages of the day, under different types of light. Take mental notes of how the color changes with the light. Take photos of the subject, as I have and then analyze these on your computer screen.
The main point of the exercise is to get you to see the effect of light on color for yourself, in real life. It might be something that you have been aware of to an extent, but only when we try things ourselves and can compare can we truly understand just how much of a factor light is when it comes to changing color.
In the top image I had a situation where I asked the subject to sit next to the window. In other words I directed the subject in relation to the light source or directed light. The result is that the colors closer to the light source look relatively bright and vivid, everything further away gradually becomes quite dull, taking on a greyish tinge and blending with the darker part of the image.
Against the bright sunlit sky the subject would become completely dark and we would end up with a silhouette. The bottom photograph is an example of a situation which stands somewhere in between. The sun here is at the early stages of its descent getting close to the horizon but rather than shoot straight into the sun, I shot at an angle the sun is above the top right part of the image.
With the right angling you can also use the reflector to make parts of the image bright and others dark. The flash is one of the most powerful tools of all when it comes to controlling both light and color. By using different gels little pieces of tinted, transparent film fitted on the flash head we can actually simulate different kinds of light and their effect on color.
In the top image I used an off-camera flash with a lightly tinted gel to simulate daylight coming from the side and in the bottom a deeper orange gel was used to simulate firelight. The flash can be easily directed from virtually any angle which gives it the same abilities as the reflector, minus the limitations that come with having to reflect light. This is essentially one of the most effective ways in which color can be controlled.
The idea will not be new to some photographers, particularly those in the commercial field. They regularly ask the subjects to move or to turn a certain way, they remove objects from view and even arrange for costume changes.
With control over the details of the shoot comes control over color.
The more capacity we have to control those details, the more control we have ultimately over what color makes it into the frame. The top image had to be all about the man carving wood, the emphasis being on the wooden figure. With the man initially wearing a colorful shirt, clothes hanging from the roof and a red thermos in the background, it was impossible to direct the focus to where I needed it.
My solution was quite simple. Because we were on quite good terms, I could ask the man to take off that shirt and did a little rearranging of those unneeded objects around the room, to get them out of my field of view. My solution was to actually make my own portable background from a piece of material. The left image is an example of the former. In the case of the photograph on the right I wanted to capture the man and his alcoholmaking machine.
These were the two key elements of the story, while the dominant shades of grey made for a fairly dreary mood. I surveyed the situation for some time, walking around, searching for an angle that would enable me to see only what I needed and nothing more.
I crouched, got on one knee, stepped to the left, to the right, and in the end found the perfect vantage point while standing on my tippytoes.
I might for example have a perfect shot set up in my mind. My only choice would be to wait, in the hope that the colorful people would exit the frame and leave me with what I need, if even for only a split moment. However, the reality is often far from ideal and the only control we might actually have over color during the shoot might be in the form of some basic and limited framing decisions. Depending on what we are shooting for and on our ideological approach towards manipulating images in post-processing software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop some people still completely oppose it , we may or may not have quite a reasonable amount of control over color after we already create the photograph.
Again, those who shoot reportage get the short end of the stick, but almost everyone else can do quite a lot to manipulate color until it looks just the way we need to tell the story and to evoke the emotional response we aim for.
You can see from the examples above that the adjustment of color temperature has given each photograph a tint. You can gather just how different the same image can feel when it has a different color temperature setting. Neither one To guide myself when adjusting color temperature I usually like to ask: Just as with the adjustment of color temperature all you have to do is move the sliders, only there are more of them see page The possibilities are virtually limitless.
The images above are representative of just a few results.
This kind of color adjustment is done quite often in cinema. If you pay close attention, you will notice that in some films there are scenes which evoke a particularly strong sense of mood. It is achieved in much the same way, through adjusting the color balance. As is the case when adjusting color temperature, I like to sometimes ask myself about how I want my photograph to feel when adjusting the color balance too. Only of course there are infinitely more variations. At times I may actually not have a clear idea how I want my image to feel.
Doing this without an understanding can make your images confusing and frustrating to look at. Knowledgeable adjustment of individual colors, however, can refine the story, make it clearer and make the sense of mood stronger. In many cases we can even fix certain color issues which were out of control or not noticed during the shoot. As I have kept saying, my approach to controlling color post-processing included is based on the following questions: Only when I can answer these questions can I create something that will make sense to others.
The mood was a little melancholic and I think that the darker colors communicated that rather well. I also wanted to say a bit about their environment, as long as none of that would take away from the people. AFTER 1. I made the mistake of not moving this white plastic bag out of the scene. I darkened it to a point where it blends with the darkness of the room.
The clothes near the ceiling can be seen as an element which adds to the story, the problem being that a part of this element is pretty bright and it guides the eye towards an area that is too far away from where the key elements to the story are. As a result I darkened this area too.
The red cup is not so bright that it absolutely screams for attention. However, there was nothing particularly standout about the image either.
Also importantly, the excitement of the bright, sunny morning, the mystique and beauty of the fog, in short, the awe-inspiring beauty of nature that touched me when I looked at the scene was not really being conveyed.
What I did with this image is an example of a different approach to that on the previous page. Instead of darkening and de-saturating specific colors to take attention from them, the opposite was employed. Once again, here are the elements that needed particular attention and my thoughts behind the process.
This is probably the main area of the story; the house and the sunkissed field next to it really needed to pop out to make the story more obvious and louder. The field was also a good place to emphasize the magic of golden morning light. I brightened it and made it more vivid saturated. Contrast was then increased to make everything within this part stand out. I wanted to make the fog dramatic and pronounced, so the whole area was brightened slightly and contrast was increased. I added a little saturation to the yellows to emphasize the golden light and increased the contrast to make these parts pop out more.
At the end of the day I feel that these actions have made a pretty good photograph into a pretty powerful one. With the adjustments the story has become clearer and the mood has been conveyed with more strength. When de-saturated or darkened, certain objects might simply look odd. The most effective solution is to get rid of the unneeded object completely, through the power of Photoshop. This is a very concise guide on external flash photography.
The book is barely 9 pages long and it gets straight to the point. It has dedicated sections on explaining the use of flash outdoors and how to achieve great results, all in an easy to understand language. If you like food photography, this eBook will prove to be a valuable resource for you. From lighting considerations to composition suggestions, a lot has been covered in this book to get you started.
According to the book, there are essentially two things that make a stunning food photo — appropriate exposure and a thoughtful composition. For more tips, download the eBook! Keep this in hand and give this a read whenever you feel uninspired, or want something to read while on the bus or subway. The ever popular online lessons on lighting in photography, Lighting , can be downloaded as a single file for a handy reference.
It will teach you everything about lighting — lighting equipment, artificial lighting, balancing it with natural light, lighting patterns and many more tricks.
If you are looking for an in-depth primer on lighting, Lighting will be a great place to start. As photographers, we periodically experience a creative block that leaves us unmotivated. These nine essays tackle the issues of photographic motivation, creative rut, and getting photographic inspiration in different ways.
A must-read for all photographers. If you are looking to start a photography business but have no idea how to go about it, this eBook will be a great place to start.
With advice from experts who share real life knowledge, you will learn how to focus your niche, market your work, lock in clients, and manage your finances. Everything is explained in a manner that is easy to understand. This book ia a basic primer and introduction to street photography. It lays down certain guidelines, sort of axioms for photojournalists, that can guide them.
If photojournalism interests you, you should check out this eBook. Photographer Eric Kim provides a road map for beginners in street photography by laying down 31 days' worth of tips. Each day there's a new lesson to apply to your photography and see gradual improvement. After a month of learning, Eric is confident you would have learned the craft quite well.
From what to do and what not to do when selling your work, the guide covers everything. Right from installing and importing photos in LR to explaining the workspace and basic editing techniques, the guide covers everything in great detail.
Ritesh has been photographing for about seven years now and his photographic interests have varied from nature and landscapes to street photography. You can see his photography on Flickr or on his website. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. About the author.