|Camera||Sony A7R II, Laowa 9mm f/2.8|
This is a color photo with not much color and I’m thinking that it makes it all the stronger as a color image.
That sounds like a contradiction, but color is a complicated thing. It seems to work in very subtle and sometimes very unexpected ways. Very often, less is more.
Some time back I was commissioned to write a mini-book on color in digital photography, and the more I wrote, the more complicated I realised it was.
For example, some pictures gain their impact from rich, intense colors, like this one taken inside a church in Porto, Portugal. But others, like this image taken at Kynance Cove in Cornwall, seem to need much subtler colors.
It was a blustery, overcast day. The sand was a pale golden color, the sky was a leaden grey. Ideal for a black and white treatment, you might have thought. I did try that, but I decided this color version was much stronger because the colors were quite subtle.
I did need to do some work on the image in Lightroom, nevertheless. The sky was too bright to show any tone, so I started out using the Auto button in the Basic panel, as I usually do, to see what happens, and while there was a modest improvement it wasn’t enough, so I used a graduated filter to bring down the exposure in the sky.
The image still looked a little flat, so I used the Dehaze slider to give the sky and the rocks a bit more punch.
Lightroom’s Auto button usually adds some Saturation and Vibrance, and the Dehaze slider adds some more saturation of its own. This was enough to give the sky a slightly blue tone, which complements the yellow sand very effectively – blue and yellow are complementary colors on the color wheel, near enough.
• Read more: How to use the Lightroom Dehaze tool
These adjustments have added just enough color of just the right sort, I think. There’s no point trying to turn this into some kind of lurid HDR rendition when these subtler tones seem to convey the cold, blustery conditions much more effectively.
- Lightroom CC review
- Lightroom Classic review
- More Lightroom articles
- How to get Lightroom CC/Adobe Photography Plans
- Color images don’t always need a lot of color to be effective
- Complementary colors work well together
- Contrast (and Dehaze) adjustments can boost saturation, for good or bad