Friday, April 8, 2011

... Oh, God, the Colorsssssss!

So, as I'm sitting here with Jen reading over my shoulder, I've decided to not forget about my Friday blog post for a change.  Heh heh.  I'm going to start much the way Jen did with some nice before and after shots of how saturation can really help correct and enhance a photograph.  From there, I'll pick up from where Jen left off, taking us into the realm of true super-saturation.  While one of Jen's specialties is black and white photography, mine is color, saturation in particular.  Needless to say I have lots of examples.

Purple Coneflower
To begin we have this photograph of a purple coneflower from my father's front garden (designed by my wonderfully talented Mum, btw).  It's a pretty good photo all by its lonesome:  it has an excellent composition that adds interest to the photograph, and the subject itself is visually engaging.  However, the lighting is slightly off due to the overcast weather of the day it was taken.  As a result there is a grayish cast over the whole picture that I wasn't particularly pleased with. The lighting also affects the strength of the colors, making them look washed out and dull.

Awesome Purple Coneflower
But!  With a little finagling via photoshop, I can fix all that.  In this case, I only had to play with lighting a tiny bit, and, most importantly increase the level of color saturation in the photograph.  As you can see, the result is much more vibrant.

Urban Jen
In a slightly more extreme example of using color saturation to enliven and correct a photograph's color we have this next one.  This is one of my favorite photographs from the original Jen photo shoot. The urban setting is especially well-suited to the feel of the shoot: the building, and the brick, and the light post, and, and . . . I also like the composition of the photograph quite a bit.  The angle speaks to the feel of the shoot, and the lines of the building, post, and Jen mesh to create a overall dynamic composition.  What's not to like? The color.  It was super-sunny that day, and there is far too much sunlight in the photo because as well as beaming down on us, the sun was bouncing of the pale concrete. This creates a similar look to what we might find in an overexposed photograph.  The light overwhelms any of the color available to us.

Awesome Urban Jen
Again, photoshop comes to the rescue.  In this case, I don't think I had to adjust the lighting at all.  Instead, I just upped the level of color saturation almost as high as I could, and voila!  Now the picture has color that enhances rather than detracts from the quality of the shot (see I found another, more mature way to say that this shot is the awesome).  The blue windows adds an unexpected punch of color to the urban brickyness of the building. Overall, adjusting the color compensates for the amount of light in the photo.

Mahonia Berries
So far the amount of color adjustment, while rather drastic in the last one, hasn't actually been anything I would call . . . extreme *mischievous eyebrow arch*.  And thus, I give you this next photograph.  Okay, so it's not extreme at all since it's the before shot.  I'm a liar.  I know. But anyway, there's not really anything particularly wrong with this shot.  It's clear. The composition of the the photograph is good and creates a visually interesting piece. The lighting is neither too much nor too little.  The color accurately reflects the smooth green tones of the plant. Overall, it's a pretty good photo for a study piece. But, why stop there?

EXTREME Mahonia Berries
So, this takes the study a little farther by playing with it in photoshop.  Really, I'm combining two of my favorite techniques in this photograph: high color saturation and color isolation.  Squee!  So, first I isolated the color of the berries while desaturating the rest of the photograph completely.  Then, I enhanced the color saturation of the berries as high as I possibly could.  Repeatedly. It's a lesson in extremes I suppose.  Even without the black and white background the color of the berries would be fairly vibrant, but by removing all color surrounding the saturated portion, I emphasized the effect still further. /nerdery

And now, for my conclusion, I present one of my more extreme examples of color saturation.  This photo is from a shoot I did with models Jen and our friend Jane.  It took place on a rather drizzly day which affected the lighting in interesting ways.  To create the effect in this photograph, I repeatedly enhanced the color saturation to its highest value.  I'm very fond of the result, since it looks rather impressionistic (particularly suitable given the Monet umbrella which it features).

Jen in the Rain
Ta Da!!!!

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