Ful or less?

24 03 2011

I mean colours. And a photo. Colourful or colourless? You probably know this. Sometimes when I am processing a photo I end up with satisfying result but then I start to think “how it would look like when applying this?” This is exactly the case of photos in this post. I took this photo some weeks ago along the photos presented in previous post but it took me some time to get down to the processing. The main reason was that I had 5 images with different plane of focus which I planned to merge into a stack to get bigger depth of field. I knew that it will require more time than routine post-processing which usually takes under half an hour. When I had the stacked image I knew that I want to make a painting from it. Well, a photograph which look like painted. I knew all the tools that I need (Photoshop, Alien Skin Snap Art 2) and also the process.  I wanted the result to look like this.

~ Intertwined (Oil on canvas) ~
1/15 – 1/4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4 – f/8, ISO 100

When I have a photo in Lightroom for usual processing I try application presets sometimes, just to see if something  fits the photo. I did it also this time and sepia preset did something that I really liked. I did only small tweaks to default settings and the result suddenly matches my “Flora in High-Key” series. And it can’t differ much more from the photo above.

~ FHK #10 – Intertwined ~
1/15 – 1/4 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4 – f/8, ISO 100

I like both of them and it leads me to thoughts about suitability of different styles for different occasions. While colourful photo easily drags someone’s attention, as human eye is very sensitive to colours, the BW or toned photo must attract with something else because the main attraction – colours – are removed. Colourful photo looks very well on monitor and it can drag viewer’s attention easily even in thumbnail. Once he is trapped and viewing full size version he can enjoy all the details and additional processing. In case of the second photo it might look a bit mundane and “tasteless” at first sight. Viewer who is not enjoying this kind of photography will very probably move his eyes to something else soon.

Very often I think about my photographs as accessories to a living. Something to hang on a wall to make the place nicer or to give it some mood. If I think about the first, colourful, photo it’s not easy to find a place in our house where I would hang it. Or in any other house. I work with colours as with mood/atmosphere evokers and thus every colourful photo needs to be carefully chosen to work with the rest of the room or to create a contrast. Colour photos are good for places where energy flows. They can make living comfortable if well chosen or discomfortable or even irritating in opposite case.

The high-key photos, black and white photos, toned photos and such don’t give so much energy. They are not evoking strong emotions. They can evoke a sense of peace and relax, elegance and even glamour if well accompanied by other accessories in the room. For example we have this kind of photos in our bedroom. With earthy brown colour tones and simple modern furniture it creates fantastic atmosphere where it is pleasure to relax.

That’s how I see and understand “colourful” and “colourless” photos. How do you see it? How do you perceive it?


Enjoy the spring while thinking about it 😉

Technical note: all photos in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, under natural conditions, indoors.




8 responses

25 03 2011
Anita Bower


You make some good points about the difference in feel and placement in the home between color and monochrome images. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

In the case of these two images, I prefer the second–much to my surprise as I usually go for color. The light tones are just right for the composition. The color image seems less sharp–strange since you stacked. It is also less smooth.

25 03 2011
Tomas Turecek

Anita, the colour version is turned to painting (it’s mentioned in the text and also in the title under the photo 😉 so it’s intentinal that it has less details. The second photo was made from original photo.

26 03 2011
Barbara Kile

I love them both! It’s hard to have a perfectly exposed white image and you did that. Hard to choose! Aren’t you glad spring is here with some of our favorite subjects? 🙂

26 03 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thanks Barbara. I always keep an eye on histogram when processing photos as I don’t want to have any overexposed parts there. You never know how it will look like on print then. Re. spring – yes, I am! 🙂 But it’s coming slowly and only crocuses are blooming now here, no other flowers so far. Moreover me and my family are still somehow ill and can’t “dig out of it” so cut or potted flowers are still winners when it comes to taking photos. How about you? I haven’t seen you posting any spring flowers lately.

27 03 2011

jednoznacne ta “cernobila”… ta barevna je tema upravama takova nejaka domrsena… Pokud by to bylo rovnou kresleno, nereknu ani popel; takhle ti to jenom nici jinak moc peknou fotku.

27 03 2011
Tomas Turecek

Ahoj a diky za nazor. Mne na te prvni taky neco vadi, ale nemuzu prijit na to, co to je. Mozna k ni ta uprava proste nesedi, nesedi to ke kazde fotce. Mozna si s tim jeste zkusim pohrat.

1 04 2011

I prefer the b/w version…less chaotic for some reason and allows the eye to really focus on the petals.

3 04 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, Tracy. I need to work on the painted version a bit more because is not as good as I wanted it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: