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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monochromatic Love

Exploring the virtues of a simplified palette

Labels: How To
This Article Features Photo Zoom
Often when using color like this, it's the color itself that becomes the dominant subject of your photograph. This makes it that much more important and influential in your final shot. There's no right or wrong way to showcase color like this. Whether you're going for impact and conveying a strong statement or your image is a subtle study of a specific range of color, monochromatic images can be a breath of creative fresh air.

Not unlike getting dressed in the morning or plating a meal for my family, I find myself inadvertently stumbling across these kinds of photographic opportunities nearly by accident. But I also know that a great variety of monochromatic effects can be achieved quite intentionally through postprocessing. Images can be desaturated, tweaked and toyed with until most of the color within the shot is manipulated into a near solitary tint. There are actions and presets and, of course, your own personal editing tricks that can help create a monochromatic look to your images.

How you get to your desired result makes no difference. The only thing that matters is that your artistic intentions and visions are expressed in your image. Shooting with the love of the monochromatic can be a challenging and fun way to create some compelling photographs.

Tips For Making Monochromatic Magic

1. There are no real rules about what's considered a monochromatic shot. Anything that gives the feeling of a limited number of shades (give or take a few) can be included in the genre.
2. Weather can be a big factor in capturing a monochromatic image. Dim light, fog or an overcast haze all can help to dull your palette down to a near grayscale effect.
3. Shooting at night and allowing for a lot of ambient light (and less flash) can help you achieve an overall yellow glow.
4. Shooting with a lot of backlight and exposing (or even overexposing) your subject can help wash out your shot, leaving your image muted and soft in color and in contrast.
5. Seeking out the part of your subject that's all one color and framing only that part can give the effect of that particular color going on far beyond the frame.
6. The desaturation tool in your photo software can help tone down the colors that might feel too bright for your desired result. You can desaturate all the colors or isolate specific colors.
7. Consider the meaning of colors as you're creating your images. As you can usually tell intuitively, certain colors evoke certain emotions. Use your color choices to your best creative advantage.

SHUTTER SISTERS is a collaborative photo blog (www.shuttersisters.com) and a thriving community of women, passionate about photography. Beyond the blog, you can find Shutter Sisters on the printed page in their book, Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters' Guide to Shooting from the Heart. Photographer/writer Tracey Clark is the founder of the blog and co-author and editor of the book.

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