Selective Color

(I’ve been asked why I’m breaking some of my posts; I’m trying to be nice to people on dialup and not dumping all the images of a post into the initial body. Instead, I’m placing them behind the cut to make things easier.)

Sometimes you have an image where you like the composition, but your primary subject doesn’t stand out as well as you would like. There are various ways you can bring a subject out a bit more: blurring the rest of the image, or brightening just the subject (or making the rest of the image a bit duller), and so on. But one of the most popular and most effective is the use of selective color.

After the Brews & Views meetup last night, on the way out my friends and I spotted this lovely new shiny blue Saab parked just across the street. The tripods promptly came out and we started shooting. In my case, I found one composition I really liked, and took the shot.

With a car, the highlights can be hard to capture without blowing them out entirely, so I knew a bit of subtle HDR work would be necessary here. In preparation, I shot a bracketed set of three exposures (0, -2 EV, +2 EV) and when I got home I mapped them into Photomatix HDR.

I did not much care for the result. The color on the Saab was vivid, but so was everything else; the car did not stand out as much as I had wanted. So I loaded the image into Photoshop and carefully desaturated the rest of the image around the car (making sure to desaturate what was seen through the windows, as well). Thus, ending up with this shot:

Shiny Blue Car

The HDR gave the image good dynamic range, and a vivid light and color on the car itself. The desaturation made the car stand out, as the only piece of color in the image. Now the subject ‘pops’ a lot more dramatically, and despite the lack of color in the background the image is much more alive.


~ by Rachel on February 27, 2009.

One Response to “Selective Color”

  1. It’s an Audi 😉

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