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What is selective color photography?

Posted in Our Wedding Photography, Wedding Photo Albums, Wedding Photography Tips on January 12th, 2009

answered by Chicagoland’s top album design artist & Jolie Images artist
– Vanessa Ferrera.

Selective color (also known as Colorization) can have a very dramatic effect when used properly. It basically starts with a regular photograph in color. The image is then converted into a black and white tone, while certain areas of the photo are brought back to color. This process is as simple or complex as the object being kept in color. For example, a simple rose or easily outlined object would be relatively simple to colorize. On the other hand, a group of people or complex bouquets may take hours! This also depends on the artist and how meticulously they chose to work. I personally take a lot of pride in my work and spend a ridiculous amount of time on detail. I have seen selective color images where obviously the designer was in a rush and it basically looks as if they ‘colored over the lines’, just as we learned not to do as children when coloring an image in a coloring book. In fact, that is exactly what they are doing. Even as a child this was not acceptable to me. Today, I make sure to zoom into the image, magnifying it 100% to make sure it is done as neatly and precisely as possible, regardless of how long it takes me. These selective color images can cost anywhere from $30 to $50. Anything more is really uncalled for unless it was a very big and detailed object. Jolie Images albums include 2 selective color images in their albums. This is perfect. Anything more can risk looking over done and take away from the impact it is supposed to have.

I usually choose the selective color image for the customer. However, if you are feeling artistic and would like to suggest one yourself, here are some helpful tips:

1. Do not choose a very colorful picture to convert to black and white. It is such a waste of so many beautiful colors. Fox example, we had a photographer capture some images of this bride and groom in the Botanic Gardens (a beautiful spot for photography if you happen to be looking for a spot in the northwest suburbs!) The image was full of greenery and flowers with them kissing in the center. They requested I convert it to black and white (such a shame) while keeping the brides bouquet in color. Her bouquet was white by the way! This image would have been much better in color.

2. After realizing their mistake, the bride and groom suggested that the beautiful background stay in color…and they would be in black and white. This is also not a good idea. While the backgrounds and foreground was stunning… they looked…well…slightly dead and ghostly with their skin in black and white! It was rather creepy looking, which they realized right away and told me to chose whatever I wanted at that point!

3. DO choose a mildly bland image where this is only one point of major color anyway. Like a rainy day with a colorful umbrella (handy thing to keep in mind ladies! Buy yourself a pretty colorful umbrella in case of rain on your wedding day. This makes a BEAUTIFUL image out of an otherwise gloomy looking day!) You could also use a champagne toast with only the champagne in color, the dance floor with only the bride and groom in color, or any shot with the bouquet where there is either very little background, or a very uninteresting background.

Again, this is for the people who are feeling artistic.

Most of the time, it is left for me to choose and I haven’t had a complaint yet!

So if you want one less thing to worry about,

just leave it to me!