Selective color - I just don't know

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by Luke, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    there are some subsets of photography that for various reasons some people just don't care for. For some, the mention of the letters HDR makes some run screaming. Some are unmoved by architectural photos. I usually offer up the warning that I don't like sunset photos. For some, it's pet photos.

    I think more often than not, the reason people don't like one of these sub-disciplines is because they've seen too many bad examples. My problem with selective color is that I'm not sure when or why to select it as a processing option. Often, it's use is just too heavy-handed and the results are too cloying.

    But I'm aware that any style of photography can be valid so I keep trying. I had a shot recently that I shot multiple exposures and had planned to an HDR processing. I just couldn't get it to where I wanted it. In color, it just always seemed oversaturated. I tried it monochrome and it seemed too flat. Maybe in retrospect, the composition is a failure.

    Feel free to offer constructive criticism on this effort (I'm still unsure about it, but I think it's a fail), but also feel free to explain what you think of selective color and how do you decide when it's appropriate. What subjects work and what are your techniques?


    La Mexicana by Lukinosity, on Flickr

    I look forward to a lively discussion......and feel free to share some of your shots, too.
     
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  2. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I think the lights in the window tell a story (dull world / lively bar), but the street light color is a distraction.
     
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I think the idea of "just lights" being in color is a good one. You should do more of them and make a story.
     
  4. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Selective color is like painting on velvet.
     
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Red selective color is like a velvet elvis. ;)
     
  6. johnc

    johnc Mu-43 Regular

    179
    Oct 20, 2011
    Ah, you sound like a fellow aficionado of fine art ...

    34o8qw5.

    Maybe bordering (if not trampling) on cliche, this still ended up being one of the bride's favorite images (a candid grab of her and her son, taken with a lowly Panasonic DMC-LX5 no less). She's even using it as her Facebook profile pic (no higher compliment can be paid these days, methinks). :smile:

    fcibfs.
     
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  7. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    Sometimes it works. More often it doesn't. Especially when it's used to salvage a not so good photo.

    I think the photo as a whole is not working. There's a lot of lines drawing the eye to the left center edge and there's nothing there. The splash of color in the window does grab my eye, but it can't keep it. I keep looking and wondering "What does he want me to see?"
     
  8. I've tried it twice...ever. Selective colour is obviously all about emphasis, but I don't really like it if I feel it was done just for the sake of it. You also need to be sure you're emphasising the right thing. In some examples I've seen have I've felt that the wrong element was emphasised, based on how I interpret the image. Anyhow, these are the only examples of selective colour I've attempted which I've posted here before at some point. Both of them are of a very similar theme. You can decide if the use of selective colour was appropriate or not.



    6110953172_4b29d285bd_b.



    5751375524_2199b1d0a5_b.
     
  9. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Good points Major and Fred. And I must agree to disagree with Gary. While I am uncertain and veering towards dislike for selective color, a well done velvet painting is a thing of beauty (admittedly they are rare). Ned, I'm going to take your advice and try a few more and Nic, I love that MINI shot. johnc, that is the type of shot that raises the hairs on the back of my neck, but if the bride loves it, then you are right that there is no higher compliment.

    Thanks all for your input.
     
  10. Bizzarrini

    Bizzarrini Mu-43 Regular

    76
    Apr 26, 2011
    The Netherlands
    I think it works quite well for some shots. Took this one a few months ago in NY, and I really like the image (although my panning skills clearly need improvement).

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Luke, there are always the exceptions, even to my rules. The painting of the Two Kings is a classic and well worth the price of $200 pesos to adorn the back of some collector's garage.

    To me selective color is nothing but a cheap trick, sorta like hitting the zoom with a slow shutter or pulling a coin out of someone's ear. I'm sure there will be a time and place when selective color is a show stopper but I think those times and places are few and far between.

    Seriously, when I saw your image, I thought that a series of selective color neon may be quite interesting ... or colorful doorways ... red Vespas ... et cetera.

    G
     
  12. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    I do tend to like them a little more for street scenes for some reason.
     
  13. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    So the painting of the Prince of Peace with The King came from your garage?
     
  14. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Actually, as much as I like the Prince and the King....I'm more of a dogs smoking and playing poker kinda guy:wink:
     
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I've probably done a dozen or so selective color shots in the past year and a half or so. And I actually like two of them. Those shots relied on the selective color to tell their story. In both cases, either all B&W or all color would have caused the story to get lost. Not to say that they're particularly wonderful photographs, just that they ONLY worked at all with selective color.

    The first one tells a story, but if anything other than the reds involved showed up, the story would be lost. And obviously, with NO color there's no story:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/5526156655/" title="Philly St. Patricks Day Parade 2011 (19) by ramboorider1, on Flickr">"1024" height="690" alt="Philly St. Patricks Day Parade 2011 (19)"></a>

    And in this one, from last week (when I did a few other selective color shots, but none I'll probably look at after the intial processing), the innocence of this little kid's oasis in the midst of the Occupy Philadelphia campground only came through when its dainty little colors showed up against the harsh grays and blacks of the surroundings.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/6290031010/" title="PA281783 by ramboorider1, on Flickr">"1024" height="683" alt="PA281783"></a>

    So, generally I try to aggressively avoid selective color, but like any other rule, sometimes you just have to try it...

    -Ray
     
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  16. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    i find that wacky PP can make a non keeper into a keeper
    id prolly have chuck'd this photo, but with the selective color, i like it a lot!
    same with some of the shots that ive taken and then thought "well ill just play around a bit with this and... OMG I LOVE IT!"

    dont trash anything! buy more hdd!
    lol
    thats the lesson
     
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  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The most memorable use of selective color ever was the little Jewish girl in the red coat in Schindler's List. I don't think anybody who's seen that movie forgets the two times that red coat was seen.
    That was before selective color became popular, and I daresay it was probably the catalyst that made it popular.
     
  18. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    I like it when it's done to add some vibrancy or to tantalize the eyes:

    [​IMG]



     
  19. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    SCHINDLERS_LIST-12.

    SCHINDLERS_LIST-19.
     
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, that's the one, digitalandfilm! Oops, I said dress but it was a coat. xP