How do I get so nice colors in my photographs ?

September 17, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

It is not uncommon for you to do something simply because you enjoy doing it. Passion drives your love for that activity, and you go so far that you never look back and realize how far you've come. We never take the time to reflect on what the journey has taught us. But, every now and then, life forces us to pause and reflect on the milestones we've reached and how the journey has shaped us into a person you never imagined you could be.

It occurred to me one fine day as I reflected on a few questions posed to me by my friends and followers. To be honest, until I came across a few queries that led me to document my process of what I do, why I do it, and how I do it, I never had the opportunity to reflect deeply on the photographic journey that I had embarked on several years ago.

The Little UmbrellasThe Little UmbrellasCloseup of leaf patterns. Example 1 : The Little Umbrellas 

Every time I come across an intriguing subject, I often see myself photographing colors, shapes, and patterns. This fascination for various hues, patterns, and shapes inspired me to explore a wide range of subjects including paper, fire, water, flowers, and architecture. My approach to photography is to make photographs by capturing what I can't see, and this further motivates me to explore and capture the hidden beauty. According to me the focus of art is creation rather than invention. The goal of invention is to discover something that has never existed before, whereas the goal of creation is to use what already exists to express your inner world. Creation emerges out of the way you look at things. The way you look at something has the potent to transform ordinary into extraordinary. Similarly when it comes to photography, how to present the most ordinary subjects is of paramount importance. The main supporting element of every creation is perspective. I can go beyond what the human eye typically sees by using photography and various perspectives, and I can use colour theory and creativity to manipulate the tones, hues, and colors of an object to show how I see it. To achieve the desired feel or mood in the photograph, I enjoy taking liberty in experimenting with white balance, light, and temperature.

Example 1 is a closeup of beautiful leaves that have been processed and visualized as tiny umbrellas. Example 2 shows a macro shot of colored papers that appear to have mystical curves or caves. A close-up shot of a weathered window in Example 3 explores texture and patterns.

Example 2 : Mystical Curves

1. If the subject has an excessive amount of contrast (high/low) compared to the average tone, I adjust the exposure value while I'm shooting. For instance, raise my EV to the higher side (+1, +2) if the overall exposure is lighter or to the lower side (-1, -2) if it is darker.

 

2. I always shoot in RAW. It gives me more freedom to experiment with the white balance and adjust highlight/shadow depth. The drawback is higher size, but I don't believe it to be a major issue given the affordability of storage devices today. If your camera has this option and you are not shooting in RAW, set your colour profile to Adobe RGB. But remember to change the colour profile to sRGB after processing and before uploading to the web.

 

3. I play around with white balance a lot until I get the tone I want for my image. Although it's a nice tool, one needs to be careful not to push it too far and lose the natural look of the image.

 

4. When I'm not satisfied with the results of white balance adjustments, I occasionally experiment with camera profiles in Lightroom.

 

5. In RAW processing, I experiment with exposure, contrast, and light adjustment. I also believe in finding your personal favorite settings by experimenting with it.

 

6. Instead of using Photoshop's Hue and saturation adjustment, I experiment with selective colors. It gives me more precise control over it compared to Hue/Sat adjustments.

 

Weathered WindowWeathered WindowCloseup photograph of an old window showing interesting tyexture & patterns. © 2018 Nilesh J. Bhange Example 3 : Weathered Window

One has to know the rules to go beyond the rules. One must therefore discover and create their own style and workflow over time. The aforementioned procedure has been my guide throughout my photographic journey. But in the end, I think that each person must make their own decisions about when and where to stop the adjustment sliders because each image is different and there are no standard settings.


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