Archive for Color
Calibrating your monitor is a critical step in getting images back from your lab that look like they should. Monitors will change as they get older.
Again, you all know I am not a technical person, so I asked my color lab for assistance. Most professional labs are equipped to help you with this.
My main lab for more than twenty years is American Color Imaging (ACI). http://www.acilab.com/ We started out using a Spyder and now we have gone to an Eye-One Match 3. ACI even carries the equipment so it is very easy to get. Once set up, it is fast and easy to do at least once a week, I think.
When I order from a different professional lab, my images still seem fine but you want to pay attention and check your images.
Here is a link to B&H Photo Video website so you can see and learn about a variety of calibration systems.
My best advice is to start with the customer service department of a professional color lab. Also make sure you are in a room with subdued light and not a lot of color in it to fool your eyes.
Photography is all about recording reflected light. Many beginners and amateurs are not yet familiar with how to see light and know what to look for yet. It can be quite a challenge to find locations that are suitable for outdoor portraits but there are some things you can use to your advantage. Here are five getting started tips:
- Photograph in the shade. Raccoon eyes, squinting eyes, deep dark shadows, and images with no catch lights in the eyes do not make a pleasing portrait. Place your subject in the shade with open sky as your main light source. This takes practice and deliberate study to find this kind of light. Going deep into the woods in too thick of shade is not going to give you a nice lighting pattern. By staying closer to the edge of the shade you will have great light coming from open sky.
- Photograph late or early in the day. This is often referred to as “Sweet Light”. An hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset is really beautiful light. The light is more even light and shadows are long and soft.
- Use a reflector. Reflectors work great to fill shadows and give a little kick of sparkle in the subject’s eyes. I personally use the gold side the most.
- Use a fill flash. When working in brighter conditions or wanting to include dramatic sky in your portrait images a fill flash is required to balance the lighting conditions for a proper exposure.
- Watch for color reflections. Color from items like green trees and red paint on a building, for example, will reflect into a person’s skin tone and shadows. This is not a desired outcome and will look unnatural. Be careful how close you are to strong color reflections. You can also correct minor color shifts in the artwork stage of your final image.
Of course you still must meter correctly, white balance, and process your files. But the more you get right in your camera first the easier the rest of the process is.
Beginner’s Photography Tip #7: Color
Our eye wants to look at the brightest area of an image first. If you want the center attention to be the face, a really bright orange shirt, pretty as it may be, will only detract from that great expression you just captured. Oftentimes a portrait client will want to wear something that makes them feel good. That wild stripe shirt or loud graphic often is not the best choice for a portrait as it demands a lot of attention. A solid color that matches or is close to your subject’s eye color will really be more attractive.
This lady in our sample images loves to wear red. It is an understandable selection for an outgoing, fun loving person, but not the best choice for a professional portrait. Pair that up with the corporate white shirt and power tie. It makes sense. However! The red is so powerful and demands so much attention that it is not my idea of a great professional image.
After a consultation with me where I showed them other possibilities and suggestions, they selected softer colors that let you see their faces first. After that you can appreciate the understated details of a well coordinated wardrobe. (This couple volunteered to dress this way for me for demonstration purposes. We are not hurting anyone’s feelings.)
I will be writing more articles on how to use teach your clients how to dress for portraits, so keep watching the resources page on my website at www.BarbGordonPhotoCoach.com. Go sign up for the weekly newsletter now.
Barb Gordon, of www.BarbGordonPhotoCoach.com, is a Master Photographer, Photographic Craftsman, and Certified Professional Photographer with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to which she has belonged since 1984. She is a nationally published and award winning photographer, entrepreneur, speaker, and author including being published in the prestigious PPA Loan Collection 2006, PPA Showcase 2003, twice named Iowa’s Top Ten Photographer of the Year, and 2010 Iowa’s Master Photographer of the Year.
When not working, she enjoys life on a new farm raising organic chickens, gardening, and playing with the horses, cats, and dogs.