How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

The post How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

Your camera is capable of capturing intense, true color that is almost everywhere you look. So how hard could it be? Answer: It is actually quite easy to capture color. However, you need to practice a little more awareness when it comes to creating images with that extra “oomph.” Here are a few tips to help you capture vibrant colors in photography.

1. Keep it simple/details

As with other types of photography, simplicity is an art on its own. While details are can be essential too, sometimes scaling back on the amount of details is required. Thus, when working with vibrant colors in photography, your story may have more impact when you include only the key elements as opposed to having too much going on.

How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

You can achieve simplicity in different ways. The first is by minimizing the number of colors in the frame. Yes, there are instances when many colors work well together in an image, but at other times it gets confusing. You need to direct your viewer’s eyes. Another way to keep it simple is to avoid too many details in your composition. It has the same effect as too many colors. When working with vibrant colors, simple works better.

2. Experiment with color combinations

Starting small is usually better with bolder colors. You can focus on one main color and build from there. When you start adding other colors in, determine if they work well together. Fortunately, you do not have to reinvent the color wheel and have tried-and-true color harmonies to use to your advantage.

How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

Color harmony is a combination that is visually appealing to the eyes. Some of the options include complementary colors (those directly opposite each other on the wheel) and analogous color (those next to each other).

Both of these harmonies exist in the natural world. A sunset of oranges and blues is an example of complementary colors. Whereas a green tree against the midday blue sky is more along the lines of analogous color. When you are working with color combinations, spend the time to make the final image pleasing to the eyes.

How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

3. Make colors stand out/playoff

Your scene may be full of color, vibrant and busy. If this is what you want to portray, then all is well. On the other hand, what if there is a subject in that chaos that you want to isolate? You can use color to make that happen. To do so, one of your options is to desaturate/tone down the colors that are not contributing to your subject’s story.

How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

Another is putting a bright color against a dull one to help it to stand out more. Also, adjusting the hue and lightness of the colors next to your main color can help it pop.

Here are a few easy ways for you to help your colors play off each other:

White Balance

Pay attention to your use of white balance when working with bold and strong colors. Your camera has several white balance options to deal with different lighting situations (Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent, etc.). Each of these affects the overall color of your image. They either move your color to the warmer side (by adding yellow) or to the cooler side (by adding blue). Thus, white balance can enhance your colors or change the hue altogether.

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Note: If you do not want your colors to end up looking too blue or yellow, you have the option of manually adjusting your white balance color temperature.

Saturation

By default, Saturation is used to enhance the color intensity of every color in an image. However, you can use editing software and use Saturation selectively. When trying to make colors play off each other, you can increase the intensity of one color while desaturating other colors in the scene.

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Vibrance vs Saturation (the same level applied)

Vibrancy

When you change the Vibrance in an image, it is a little more specific than Saturation. Vibrance only adjusts the intensity of the duller colors in your image. When playing off colors, this tool can be very effective.

How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

Conclusion

When working with vibrant colors, be aware of your palette. Keep your compositions simple by minimizing the number of colors and details in your image. Work with the color wheel and learn about the various harmonies that exist. When you pay attention to all the colors in your image, you get a better sense of how they work together. You also understand the way each color affects and plays off the other. Most of all, have fun experimenting while you learn about color!

Do you have other tips for using vibrant colors in photography? Share with us in the comments section!

 

vibrant-colors-in-photography

The post How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

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August 19, 2019 at 08:45AM

When is the Best Time to Photograph the Moon?

When is the Best Time to Photograph the Moon?

The post When is the Best Time to Photograph the Moon? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Peter West Carey.

Moon phases are a key to understanding when you should be out taking photos. These days it’s easy to predict where and when you will see the moon for the type of photos you want to produce.

First let’s start with some tools you might want to look into, then options for different moon phase photos.

Tools

Astronomers have known the secrets of the moon’s phases and timing for eons. Ancient civilizations built monuments and shrines in regard to locations of the sun, moon and stars long before computers were invented. Our modern tools are a little easier to access.

Newspapers and Websites

Not into learning full astronomy? My first suggestion is to Google the phase you’re looking for. It’s that simple. One of the top sites that will appear in the results is Time & Date. You can find all the phases of the moon, based on the location of your Internet connection, right here. If the location isn’t correct, simply search for your city and the site will give you all you need to get started.

Another great option (that also has an app, but it is so much better on a large computer screen) is The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE). I wrote about using TPE here on DPS and they have a Web App available for those who don’t use phones and their apps.

The US Navy has a simple site that allows you to print out a year’s worth of times for any location on the planet.

Don’t have an Internet connection while you travel? Newspapers still print the information for the moon and sun phases (as well as setting and rising times).

Apps

Everyone loves a good app, and there are three that I keep loaded on my phone for photography purposes. All of these apps will show you the angle of the moon at any time, its phase, and some even help you calculate the best time to photograph the moon.

Full moon over Washington’s Cascade Mountains

My choices are:

Catching the Full Moon

The best time to photograph the full moon is the day before or after a full moon. Why’s this?

A full moon is marked at the height of its path across the heavens and this is often after midnight. Let’s say the moon reaches the height of its fullness at 12:26 am on July 2nd. This means the full moon actually rises on the day BEFORE that which is marked on the calendar. Throw in use of Daylight Saving Time and the timing can be wonky.

Full moon rising above Washington’s Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound

Going out the day before the moon is actually marked as full means you’re catching the moon rising just about at the same time as the sun is setting. So the sun is lighting the moon and often the foreground of your scene. This gives a nice, even lighting to your scene.

The same can be said for shooting the full moon setting the day it is marked on the calendar.

Late at night, you can still capture great images of the moon. However, you have to understand that the contrast difference between the moon (a giant reflector in space) and the black sky will be immense. This means you will lose detail in the moon if you attempt to hold the shutter open long enough to exposure the foreground. Some creative light painting can come in handy in this case.

Full moon and chorten with the Himalayas in the background. Mong La, Nepal

Half/Quarter Moons – Daytime wonders

Some people call them half-moons because half of the moon is illuminated. Some call them quarter because they are at the quarter phase of a full cycle. Either way, they look the same.

Half-moons will rise or set in the middle of the day. It matters on whether the moon is waxing or waning, meaning if it is getting closer to full or further away in its cycle. This is a good time to use an app or Astro calendar to plan ahead.

You’ll be best served by catching a half moon when it is rising or setting, just like with a full moon. Having it closer to the foreground subjects will help it appear larger. Let me give you an example.

Here’s the half moon rising in Canmore, Alberta, Canada just behind the Rocky Mountains.

Half moon and the Canadian Rockies

Nice and large when using a long lens and the moon is close to the ground. It is fairly high in the sky here as I am looking way up at the mountain.

Now, here are two examples with a nearly half moon over Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, and another of it over Seattle, Washington.

See the issue? It’s still a half moon, but later in its cycle, when it is far from foreground objects, it is relatively small and loses some grandeur.

Slivers or Crescents

Slivers, or crescents, are visible just before and after a new moon. Look for them a couple of days before and after the new moon and, just like full and half, try to find a time when they are low on the horizon.

Crescent moon setting over the Himalayas

You will also notice the sliver will seemingly rotate as it crosses the heavens and this may affect your composition choices. As with the half moon, you will have even more trouble giving the moon prominence in a mid-day shoot when it is high in the sky.

Lunar Eclipses

Lunar eclipses are all the fashion these days with this or that news source touting, “This will be the last blah, blah, blah for decades!”  But don’t let them fool you; lunar eclipses happen often enough – about once a year. However, their location can be the biggest issue. Let’s go back to Time & Date’s site for more info on upcoming lunar eclipses for the next 10 years. You’ll need to click on the “Lunar” tab once on the page.

Not all of those eclipses will happen in your neck of the woods, so you’ll have to click through and see where they will happen. As with solar eclipses, when the sun is blotted out by the moon, people will often travel far and wide for lunar eclipse shots.

A full lunar eclipse, at its height, means the moon will be completely in the shadow of the Earth. Because of the distance between the Earth and moon, some light still slips past the Earth, which causes it to have all colors except red stripped away. This is why lunar eclipses are sometimes called blood moons.

Again, having a foreground subject helps because the eclipse often happens high in the sky. The whole sequence of the moon moving into and then fully out of the Earth’s shadow can take a little over an hour, and you should plan accordingly. The colorful and best ‘action’ of the eclipse will span maybe 5-10 minutes.

More tips on capturing lunar (and solar) eclipses are found in this DPS article.

New Moon or No Moon – Photograph the Stars

When the moon’s not out, it’s a great time to photograph the stars. And my, oh, my, do we have a batch of great articles to help you with that!

Conclusion

Moon photography is a fun and challenging subject because the moon is constantly changing phases and its location in the sky. Thankfully, we have plenty of tools at our disposal to track and plan for great moon photos. While full moons are alluring, try your hand at the other phases, too.

Feel free to share your photos of the moon with the dPS community in the comments below.

best time to photograph the moon

 

The post When is the Best Time to Photograph the Moon? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Peter West Carey.

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June 10, 2019 at 10:12AM