Incubation XV

Variations_Saturation_425

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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Variations

May 5, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

Here’s an excerpt from my article in the current issue of After Capture magazine.

“Once you’ve identified the core concerns, strengths, and weaknesses a body of work your path becomes clearer. Stick to your strong points; repeat them. Eliminate or minimize weaknesses. Introduce small variations of less essential items to add life, complexity, and nuances to the work. Enrich text with subtext. Make a list of possible variations upon the elements that you’ve identified. Consider, different points of view and different combinations of elements. Keep adding to your list as time goes on. It’s likely you’ll generate many more ideas than you can accomplish in a short time. With these options in mind you’ll never run out of ideas to pursue. Pursue only the very best ideas; let the lesser ideas pass you by. How do you evaluate new ideas? Ask yourself some questions. How much repetition leads to saturation (adding more information without adding anything new)? How much variation can you support without losing track of the essential idea and starting a new one? Does including a variation reinforce or distract from the entire body of work and its theme? If it reinforces it, include it. If it distracts from it, set it aside for another use. Quite often these images can start new bodies of work. They can even serve as bridges between related bodies of work. Engaging this process consciously increases the likelihood that you will produce the more significant results both now and in the future. You’ll know what to move forward on and when to move forward. You’ll know what to defer and when to defer it so you don’t get sidetracked …”

Find my PDFs on Creativity here.

Learn these and other core concepts in my workshops.


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