Worth a Thousand Words: Issue #011


Worth a Thousand Words, Issue #011— Are You Making the Best Use of Color?
March 16, 2011
In this month’s issue, I share tips to make the best use of color
in your photos. I also talk about how to use the “bulb” setting on
your camera. The creativity exercise this month gets you turned on
your head! And our cool link highlights a storm chasing
photographer with some dramatic weather images. What more could
you ask for? Enjoy!

Are You Making The Best Use Of Color In Your Photographs?

All objects are colored, but do you ever stop to think about the
impact of those colors before you take a picture? Color can be an
important design element in your photographs. When used
deliberately, it can help you tell your visual story more
effectively. Id like to share a few tips with you here.

First of all, keep your color palette fairly simple. By that, I
mean avoid having too many colors competing for attention within
the frame. In the computer field, we refer to a bad visual
interface design that uses too many colors as angry fruit salad.
Avoid angry fruit salad in your images.

Strong colors like red or yellow will stand out, so its best to
reserve those colors for objects that are important to your story,
otherwise the bright colors will only serve as distractions.

Light tones and warm colors advance in the image, and dark tones
and cool colors recede. That means that if a yellow flower and a
blue flower are the same distance from the viewer, the yellow
flower will seem to be closer than the blue one just because of
its color. If you photograph a blue subject against a yellow
background, your brain will be getting mixed messages. The yellow
of the background will jump forward to compete with your subject.
A yellow subject against a blue background will work much better.

Finally, remember your complementary colors from high school art
class? Blue and orange, red and green, and purple and yellow are
complementary color pairs.. Placing a subject against a background
of its complementary color makes it stand out, or pop. Just keep
in mind the previous tip; use the lighter tones and warmer colors
for the foreground subject.

Creativity Exercise

Turn It On Its Side

All too often, photographers forget that they can turn their
camera vertically! Its easy to automatically shoot only horizontal
images. Set yourself a challenge. Go out on a photo expedition and
shoot only verticals. This means that you have to look for subject
matter that lends itself to being photographed vertically; not
everything does. Let the shapes and lines of your subject matter
guide you.

Something Every Photographer Needs to Know: Tip of the Month

Bulb Setting

Have you ever used the bulb setting on your camera? The bulb
setting on your camera is used to get shutter speeds longer than
the longest standard setting on your camera (usually 30 seconds).
Bulb allows you to keep the shutter open for an arbitrary amount
of time, for as long as you hold down the shutter button. If you
use a cable release, you can usually slide it so it stays
depressed without your having to hold it down.

Bulb setting can be used to shoot star trails, when you need to
leave the shutter open for a long time. It can also be used to
photograph lightning; leave the shutter open until you see the
lightning flash, and then release the shutter.

Bulb setting is available on most cameras that allow you to
manually change your shutter speed. Check your camera manual to
see how to turn it on.

Too Cool Not to Share!

Storm Chaser

Storm chaser Jim Reed is an award-winning extreme weather
photographer dedicated to documenting America’s changing climate.
Check out his dramatic photographs.

What’s New this Month at Ultimate Photo Tips

Photo Challenges

The topic of February’s photo challenge was Winter. There were
some wonderfully creative and chilly-feeling images! Check out the
wonderful winning image of snow falling on shoreline rock patterns
by Ron Whitaker from Nova Scotia, Canada:

The topic for March’s challenge is “Pattern and Repetition.” A
pattern is a particular arrangement of visual elements. It may be
repeated in a regular rhythm, or randomly. So, let’s see some
images from all of you where pattern is the star of the show.

Submit your pattern and repetition images here:

Happy shooting from Ultimate Photo Tips!