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What Subjects Work In Selective Colour Images?

Here's a few quick tips on what makes a good selective colour shot.

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Colour Popping 


Selective colouring or colour popping as it's also sometimes known as, is a great effect that works well when used on the right type of image.

For those of you who don't know what it is, basically you turn an image black & white but leave the part of the shot you want to draw specific attention to in colour. It's a great way to make your subject 'pop' from the frame to ensure the eye is pulled towards them. However, this technique isn't something that works with absolutely everything so do think about this before you start colour popping all of your shots.

Look out for parts of a scene that are particularly vibrant such as an outfit someone is wearing or a tree filled with burnt orange leaves in autumn. Removing colour from all but the eyes can work well on people and pets while shots of poppies in a mono field or a Ladybird sat against a black & white background can have real impact. Avoid dull colours and even though you do want the eye to fall on your subject, you don't want to rest of the scene to be forgotten about so do make sure the colour doesn't lower the impact the rest of the scene has. Having said that, this effect can hide messy backgrounds well and turn busy shots into something that's much easier to look at.

Mode DialIf you want to test if the effect will work while on location, many cameras have a Selective Colour mode where you can tell the camera that you want all colours other than the selected colour to be recorded in black & white. Effects can usually be accessed via the camera's menu system or via the mode dial. If you're shooting in Jpeg, do remember the effect is permanent and you won't, unless you take one, have the full colour version to return to once home. However, there are cameras on the market that allow you to view your chosen effect in real time as you shoot, which means you can check to see if the effect works before hitting the shutter button. One such camera is the Nikon D7200 which allows selected effects to be applied to both stills and movies in Live View. 

The same effect can be applied to images in editing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom, meaning you can capture a whole scene in colour and just edit the shot once home. It also means you can apply the effect to shots taken weeks, months or even years ago. 

Our tutorials on this technique can be found here:

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