Selective Colouring

Do photographs look better when selectively colored? Selective coloring involves painfully desaturating a picture to leave only the portions that need highlighting. There are many ways to desaturate a photograph, and I use Adobe Lightroom adjustment brush to remove colour from portions of a picture. The pictures below show both the original picture and my selectively colored version. Which one do you prefer?

Original Image
Original Image

One method of removing colors from a picture is by desaturating color groups. In the picture below, I removed all the greens, blues and yellow. This has the desired effect of making all the leaves and sky become monochrome while leaving just the flowers with color.

Removed greens, blues and yellow
Removed greens, blues and yellow

The above makes the picture look a little artificial due to removal of the yellow-green components from the petals too, as well as with other flowers in the background showing through the foliage. I then attempted to use the adjustment brush to remove all color from the picture except for the two flowers in the foreground (as below).

Selectively colored
Selectively colored

Personally I’m pleased with my selective desaturation as this brought out the vibrant colors of the flower, which were otherwise lost in the bright greens of the leaves and the blue of the sky.

Technical Details:
Nikon D80 with Tamron 18-250mm f3.5/6.3 Lens
1/640 f/8.0 55mm
Location: Araku Valley, Visakhapatnam
Processed with Adobe Lightroom 4.1


A tangled web!

Autumn mornings offer a great chance to see myriad spider webs drenched in the early morning dew making a million natural necklaces of tiny pearly dew drops. I took these pictures on just one such day. The industrious spider had built this web on the clothesline overnight.

1/60 f/5.0 ISO200 with flash
1/60 f/5.0 ISO200 with flash
1/60 f/5.0 ISO200 with flash

I am constantly amazed at the persistence of the spider to continually attempt to make a web in the most unlikely of places, day after day. Maybe there is a lesson in it for us all….
Technical details

Nikon D80
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens
Nikon Speedlight SB-600 flash
Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.1

Back on Black – 1

I love taking pictures with a black or underexposed background. Most of my pictures are taken in daylight. There are two tricks I use to get to a suitably dark or sometimes totally black background. As I’ve been asked many time how I do this, here’s is the first way.

Using an external flash with the camera set to a very high shutter speed (> 1/2500) and a high aperture (~f/14). This ensures that the foreground is well exposed and there isn’t enough time for the sensor to record the background which then appears dark. Slight adjustments in Lightroom to increase black and the photograph really stands out.

Original image 1/3200 f/14 with external SB600 flash
Adjustments in Lightroom. Increased blacks, desaturated greens, increased highlights.

It is really that easy!! Of course, it always helps if the background isn’t too crowded or very bright. Also using a high aperture means that most of the image is in focus. In a future post, I will try to cover other ways by which I get a black background (especially in those cases where this method is not possible).