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How To Find The Infinite Possibilities One Image Contains

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Any image can support an unimaginable number of color variations. So how do you find them? Systematically make many variations. Will it take a great deal of time? It will take a little time but not a lot (maybe five or ten minutes) – and it will take less time and you’ll more thoroughly explore the possibilities if you do this systematically. You’ll find this exploration will be time very well spent. Illuminating more possibilities than you imagined will help you find more creative and personally fulfilling solutions for your images. You’ll deepen your understanding of and personal relationship with color thus your images and by extension yourself. Those who view your works will feel the difference. I can tell you from many years of personal experience that it has made all the difference in the world to me. It will do the same for you.

Before you begin …

Start With Your Strongest Image(s)

When you’re processing a number of related images it’s likely that you’ll find the solutions you choose for the strongest image in the set will apply to the others, with minor modifications. It’s rare to have images in a series with widely divergent color palettes.

Plan To Make Many Copies

Don’t try and remember all of these possibilities; there will be too many to remember.

Instead make copies that you can make side-by-side comparisons with. (In Lightroom make virtual copies. Alternately, in Photoshop duplicate files.) It will help if you organize these copies into Collections in Lightroom or organize them (possibly with folders) in Bridge/Photoshop.

Find The Big Picture, Sweat The Details Later

Ditch your perfectionist tendencies – for now. Worry more about the moves you’re making in color that the tools you’re using to make them with. Don’t get lost in the details, instead focus on the big picture. Avoid getting distracted by one exciting possibility.  Instead of rushing to finished results and committing to the most obvious solution too quickly, spend a few minutes exploring more possibilities hoping to find better solutions. More often than not, you will.

So what’s the best way to do this?

Proceed In This Order – Saturation, Luminosity, Hue

With only three elements of color, you wouldn’t think there could be so many possibilities, but the very things that generate them also make finding them manageable. You’ll quickly find the major moves that can be made if you make changes in these three elements in this order – saturation, luminosity, and hue.

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The Best Strategy For Creating Successful Color Palettes

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The vast majority of resources you’ll find for creating successful color palettes, whether in print or online, will catalog a great number of compelling color combinations with some rhyme but little reason. When you look at them, not understanding the logic behind their choices, it’s tempting to think that anything goes. (And it might in certain contexts and for the specific reasons. But which ones?) Sometimes they drift into color psychology but quickly become so subjective they lose all sense of objectivity or universality. The best of them identify visual dynamics that you can use to exert some influence over the direction takes in and gives to your images.

What I’m offering you here is different. This is a strategy. Not a rule but a principle.

It can be boiled down to one sentence, “Make one element of color dominant by putting more contrast in it.”

With only three elements of color, this rubric offers you three main palettes that you can draw endless permutations from plus two notable exceptions.

When you reflect on your choice of palette, you’ll gain insights into the themes contained of your images.

Before I detail these five palettes …

It helps to understand some of the dynamics of color. Good things come in threes; there are three types of color, three elements of color, and three kinds of contrast.

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3 Types Of Color

There are three types of color – ideal, ambient, and synthetic.

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How To Get More Light In Your Photographs With Photoshop

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Warning! This collection of videos may change the way you think about light. Photoshop’s ability to enhance and add light into photographs is so powerful few photographers grasp the full extent of it. You’ll get a good taste for this in the collection of videos I’ve assembled for you – even if you just glance at them. Or you can dig in and enjoy hours of inspiration!

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These free online treasures are generously shared by top Photoshop gurus including Colin Smith, Matt Koslowski, Jesus Ramirez, and Unmesh Dinda.
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9 Ways To Bring More Joy To Your Photography

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My wife and business partner Arduina’s enthusiasm is intoxicating.

So I asked her to share a little of it with you.

Here are her 9 Ways To Bring More Joy To Your Photography.

1. PLAY!

Give yourself the gift of playtime. Try new things without judgement. Make a portrait of your neighbor, or your neighbors peacocks. Make a self portrait holding your most prized possession. Arrange a still life from your junk drawer. Try abstraction. Go underwater or book yourself a hot air ballon and try areal photography. Ask a friend to drive you around. My husband will sweetly slow the car down to help me make an image of a fox in a field or a goat on the roof of a shed. Try motion blur, long exposers  or double exposures. Shoot with different lenses and cameras; try a 400mm lens with a doubler or a macro; play with plastic lenses or a Holga; or use a scanner as your camera. In order to get the most joy from playtime all you have to do you have to make time for play. I think of it as a healthy form of self care – if you can spend an hour on a treadmill you can spare a few minutes to photograph your favorite tree.

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2. Experience A Different Time Of Day

Be amazed by magic light! Drag your sleepy head out of bed and watch as the dawn moves across your windows or play in the dappled light under a canopy of trees at mid day.

3. See What Your Eyes Can’t

Get yourself  a tripod and shoot after dark. You could even use an intervalometer  to make a time-lapse of yourself while you sleep and you may solve the mystery of who has been stealing the covers.

4. Explore

Wander about and  catch yourself in a smile. Notice what you notice and make a record of what resonates. Photographer Keith Carter says, “Time spent in reconnoissance is never time wasted.”  Time enjoyed is never wasted, whether you make a picture right then or return later with a wagon full of birdcages and clocks.

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5. Be Inspired By Your Favorite Song Writer Or Poet

Pay homage to the song that got you through a bad break up or spend some time with  Mary Oliver as she tirelessly guides you through the natural world.

6. Put Yourself In Someone Else’s Shoes

Try on a different point of view. Find happiness in shooting a scene while lying on your belly or standing on your tippy toes with your arms stretched up overhead. Any advice involving shoes makes me happy …

7. Lighten Up

Ditch your inner critic. Just because Edward Weston made an Iconic picture of a bell pepper doesn’t mean that you can never photograph a pepper. Just make pictures. In fact the one most people think of is entitled “Pepper No. 30”  but he must have had an amazing time playing with creepy pepper #14.

8. Learn To Composite

So what if that cloud was in San Francisco and that ocean is in Maine ? Perhaps they would like to meet in a photograph?

9. Make A Print

Hold the joy you have experienced in your hands! Put it on your wall. Glue it in a book. Or mail it to your mother-in-law to thank her for loving you. I make my prints on an Epson printer – and I am deeply in love with that part of my process – but a print in any form (Cibachrome, cyanotype, or collodion) anything with three-dimensions is joyful to me!

View Ardie’s photographs on Instagram.

Visit Ardie’s website.
Inquire about one-on-one online training here.
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