Contrast in Color Photography

Color is actually a combination of three terms: hue, saturation (intensity), and brightness/tonal contrast (how light or dark a color appears.)

Hue

When children learn to identify colors, they learn to identity hue. Hue refers to the attribute of a color dependent on its dominant wavelength. It what makes a color discernible as red, green, etc, and is independent of intensity or lightness.

A color wheel shows a wide range of different hues:
color_wheel_730

Examples of photographs with similar (analogous) hues:

Photo Credit: Manny

Photo Credit: Manny

Photo Credit: Nelsie

Photo Credit: Nelsie

Examples of photographs with contrasting (complementary) hues:

Photo Credit: Steve McCurry

Photo Credit: Steve McCurry

Photo Credit: Mika Ninagawa

Photo Credit: Mika Ninagawa

Saturation (Intensity)

Saturation refers to how intense a color is. The hues in the color wheel shown above are fully saturated. Most things we come across in nature will be much more dull.

Examples of photographs with saturated colors:

showimg_trn135_1600_1600

Photo Credit: Mika Ninagawa

Photo Credit: Steve McCurry

Photo Credit: Steve McCurry

Examples of photographs with desaturated (muted) colors:
bicycle_muted
bird_muted_color

Photo Credit: Deanna

Photo Credit: Deanna

Brightness, Tone, and Value

Brightness or tonal contrast is the range between light and dark. This term is usually used in association with black and white photography, though color photos do have tonal contrast. Think of this in terms of highlights and shadows or blacks and whites. Our ability to perceive these differences in tone is why we can recognize shapes and lines. High tonal contrast photos are primarily light and dark or white and black elements with a sharp difference between them. They are dramatic and strong.

Examples of photographs with high tonal contrast:

Photo Credit: Manny

Photo Credit: Manny

Adams_The_Tetons_and_the_Snake_River

Photo Credit: Ansel Adams

Examples of photographs with low tonal contrast:
pink_green_macaroons

Combining hue, saturation, and tone

A strong photograph will often combine many of the above elements.
Here are some examples of photographs that combine contrasting hues, tone, and saturation:

Photo Credit: Steve McCurry

Photo Credit: Steve McCurry

Photo Credit: Steve McCurry

Photo Credit: Steve McCurry

Today we will:

  • Take photos outside, trying to capture good examples of how each of the following elements affects the perception of color: hue, saturation, and brightness/tone
  • Publish a new blog post with the best unedited photos you took today
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New Photography Project: Color

Today we will start our color photography unit. This will be your last project of the year (and the last project at SOTA for seniors)!

Project Requirements

  • 150 word artist statement about project
  • 10-12 final strong, edited photos. At least one photo must represent each of the following color schemes:
    • Monochromatic (including many tints and shades of the same color)
      monochromatic
      teal_bokeh
      fashion_stairways_couple_red_d_2560x1920_artwallpaperhi.com
      red_Shoes
      sink_med_hr
    • Analogous (featuring similar colors that are next to one another on the color wheel)
      analogous
      analogous_blue_purple_desert
      analogous_red_orange_yellow
      analogous_blue_purple_green_flower
    • Complimentary (featuring two opposite colors that are directly across from one another on the color wheel)
      complementarycolours
      blue_orange_flower
      complementary_red_green
      pink_green_macaroons
    • Triadic (featuring three colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel; ex. red, blue, yellow or purple, orange, green)
      triadic
      red_yellow_blue_umbrella
      butterfly_purple_orange_green
      red_yellow_blue_train

Things to avoid (you will not receive credit for photos that do any of the following things):

  • Photographs CANNOT be flat. They must show a depth of at least 3 to 5 feet. For example, do not merely take a photo of an artwork or mural:
    flat_mural
  • DO NOT just take a bunch of objects of certain colors and pile them together! Remember, it has to be a good photo in the first place, and show the specific color schemes as well.
  • DO NOT use photos you have submitted for a previous project.
  • Do NOT shoot into the sun. This will overexpose parts of your photograph while underexposing other areas, and is something you will not be able to fix in Photoshop:
    over_under_exposed

Today we will:

  • Take photos outside, trying to capture good examples of each of the following color schemes: monochromatic, triadic, analogous, complementary
  • Publish a new blog post with the best unedited photos you took today

Special Announcement

teachers_challenge5kInterested in running or walking a 5K (3.1 miles) to benefit SOTA?
Sign up for the Teacher’s Challenge 5K as part of the SOTA team.
The race takes place on Sunday, June 14th at 8:30 am at Ellison Park.

Ms. Lawson will be running it and challenges you to try to beat her.
Sign up here.

Finishing Incomplete Assignments

Today we will finish our “Beauty in the Mundane” photo unit. You must submit a final blog post with 10-12 strong photos and a 150 word artist statement. Manny’s and Lizzy’s blog posts are perfect examples of what I am looking for.

Here are some of my favorite photos from this unit:

Photo Credit: Isiah

Photo Credit: Isiah

Photo Credit: Lizzy

Photo Credit: Lizzy

Photo Credit: Nelsie

Photo Credit: Nelsie

Photo Credit: Manny

Photo Credit: Manny

If you finish early, you may finish your t-shirt design (if you have not already done so). In order for a t-shirt design to be considered complete, you must submit a PDF of the design, a JPG of the design Photoshopped onto a t-shirt, and a 150 word artist statement in the same blog post.The following people have not turned in a completed t-shirt design:

AC Days

  • Shylamar
  • Giacomo
  • Kwondell
  • Tahmir
  • Nelsie
  • Breanna
  • Molly
  • Duncan
  • Simon
  • Darren
  • Katie (opt out – sports banquet slide show)
  • Zach
  • Josh

BD Days

  • Isiah
  • Clifton
  • Shatique
  • Jabari
  • Serena

Editing Photos: Rotating to Correct a Crooked Camera; Black & White vs. Color

Today’s essential question: How can I make sure any edits I make in Photoshop improve my photograph?

Today we will review some techniques for editing photos. First and foremost, remember that not all photos need editing. If a photo looks great, leave it alone!

Straightening a crooked image

In general, try to hold your camera straight, and when possible, steady it by leaning it on a sturdy surface. If you have accidentally taken a crooked photo however, you can straighten it in Photoshop. Here are some examples:

Photo credit: Betty

Photo credit: Betty

Photo credit: Lizzy

Photo credit: Lizzy

How to Straighten a Crooked Image in Photoshop

  1. In your layers palette on the lower right side of the screen, double click the background layer. Rename it.
  2. View -> Rulers
    view_rulers
  3. Rulers will show up on the top and left side of the screen.
    Click anywhere in the ruler area and drag toward the photo to create a guide.
    guide_Adding_instructions
  4. Adjust the guide so it is next to an object with a straight edge that is currently slanted. You will use this guide as your reference. (In the example below, I have added a vertical guide to compare to the street light, and a horizontal guide to compare to the horizon line.)
    Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.26.01 PM
  5. Edit -> Transform -> Rotate
  6. Rotate the image until the edge of your object is parallel to your guide.
    Then press the “enter” key.
    Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.26.48 PM
  7. Select the crop tool from the tools palette on the left side of the screen. crop_tool
  8. Drag your crop tool to select the area you want to keep.
    Press the “enter” key once you have successfully evened out the edges of your image.
    Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.27.11 PM

Black & White vs. Color

Sometimes, an image will look more powerful in black and white. Other times, especially if the color palette is limited or particularly vibrant, the image will look better in color. Compare the following photos below. Which ones look better in color? Which look better in black and white? Why?

Photo Credit: Lizzy

Photo Credit: Lizzy

Photo credit: Jacinto

Photo credit: Jacinto

Today we will:

  • Create one blog post with our favorite 10 images we have taken so far. We will have one more shooting day, so you may eventually replace some of these, but I want to see the best of what you have photographed so far. (Note: We have have three shooting days on this project. If you do not have 10 photos from three 90-minute classes, you should be concerned.)
  • Decide which photos are strong as is, and which could be improved with editing.
  • Come up with a game plan for each photo you want to edit. What will you do to improve it? Will you straighten it, crop it, adjust the levels? Each photo is unique and will probably require different tools.
  • Begin editing your photos.
  • Create a second blog post with before and after photos of anything you have edited. This is important so I can make sure the work you are doing in Photoshop is improving your photos instead of potentially degrading them.

Photographer Spotlight: William Eggleston

William Eggleston is a pioneering photographer credited with introducing color to art photography in the late 1960s. Eggleston has done the majority of his work in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. When he was first getting started in photography, he told his friend that everything in Memphis was ugly and he didn’t know what to photograph. His friend responded, “Well, photograph the ugly stuff.” Eggleston began photographing otherwise unremarkable subjects yet achieving remarkable results. Eggleston once said, “You must not take anything for granted when you are looking at a picture. Never do that. Every single little tiny space on that page works and counts.”

Here are some of examples of ways William Eggleston has turned boring, every scenes into interesting images:

William EGGLESTON, Untitled, 1977.

hot_Sauce

William Eggleston

eggleston_grandma

Untitled.-1976-fr.-Election-Eve-yellow-cafe_c.Eggleston-Artistic-Trust.-Courtesy-of-Gagosian-Gallery_90p

url

eggleston_018

William Eggleston

eggleston_cars  012-william-eggleston-theredlist

Read more about William Eggleston here.

Today we will:

  • take interesting photos of subject matter we would normally overlook
  • create a new blog post with the photos we took during today’s class