Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Problem of Color Contamination in Photography

Whether you’re aware of the correct terminology or not, you have likely experienced color contamination happening in your photographs already. Put simply, color contamination is when one color is affected by the presence of another color in close proximity.

For example, if you’re photographing two friends side by side, one of them is wearing a white t-shirt and the other one is wearing a red t-shirt, the white t-shirt will likely take on a pinkish tone due to the fact that it’s receiving bounced light from the red t-shirt close by.

Take a look at how the white table tennis ball has been colored pink due it’s proximity to the red surface.

This color contamination effect has nothing specific whatsoever to do with photography as it happens around us all day every day and we are so accustomed to it that most of us never even notice it. So why bring it up? I bring it up because it’s a frustrating effect when it happens in our shots, especially if we aren’t aware of what’s causing it.

We may even just write it off as a white balance issue or other color balance problem as it’s usually so subtle we might not even try to correct it. But when color contamination is at it’s most intense, we have to take note and address it.

Think about doing a portrait shoot in the woods. You’re surrounded by green, the leaves in the trees, some bushes and maybe there’s even green grass on the floor around you. The daylight comes through the trees and bounces around on all the foliage before it hits your subject resulting in some very sick-looking green subjects. Not a great look. Think about how many woodland portraits you’ve seen that have been converted to black and white. Starts to make more sense now right?

Can’t I Just White Balance My Shots?

White balance exists on the Kelvin scale that specifically deals with balancing a certain range of colors, so no matter how hard you try, a lot of these color contamination shots simply can’t be fixed with white balance alone, hence the black and white solution.

But more than that, color contamination is often a localized effect. Let’s go back to that white t-shirt that looks a little pink now because it was next to a red one. We can’t color balance the scene to correct the shirt without affecting the whole image. It’s these factors that make color contamination such a troublesome problem and one that is incredibly overlooked.

What is This ‘Radiosity’ Thing? You can see on the left how ‘fake’ this computer generated room looks without radiosity compared to when it has it. On the right you can see the red floor is reacting with the with walls around it and the room feels a lot more real because of it. Image by Hugo Elias and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Strangely, radiosity is what I was taught 20 years ago in the film days but you hardly hear the word used in association with photography anymore. Now the word is more related to how light and color act upon one another in computer generated worlds. In fact, one of the greatest leaps forward 3D modeling has made was to accurately model how light affected one surface when in proximity to another.

Without getting too nerdy, 3D modelers ironically love radiosity as it gives their worlds and textures an added depth and realism. We as photographers, specifically portrait photographers hate it and we try and color balance it away where we can. If you’re interested then you can take a look at the Radiosity in Computer Graphics page on Wikipedia, but be warned: there’s a whole lot of maths involved.

Regardless of what you want to call it, this color contamination effect is a very real problem for us photographers if we want to depict objects like people, cars, clothing and so on in the best possible way.

No company wants you to photograph their white car only for it to look a ‘little pink’ on one side, and the same goes for fashion as well. We need to be aware of what colors we’re putting next to one another.

Color Contamination in Action

In the images below, I set up a mini set to illustrate the color contamination effect in action. I purchased three spheres, the cue ball with its very shiny surface, the table tennis ball with its very matte surface and the golf ball for its very textured surface. I placed them all on a white surface and shone a single light at them with a variety of colored papers next to them and took shots to document the whole thing.

Look closely at the shots below to see just how the different surfaces and textures are affected by the close proximity of color.

Taking a Closer Look

Upon first impressions you may not think it’s a big deal because our eyes are so accustomed to normalizing color variance when it’s in proximity to similar tones, but as the images change you should be able to see just how dramatic the effect is.

To further cement my point, I’ve isolated the separate spheres in the images below and placed them next to the image of the spheres shot against the white. In isolation like this, the effect is a lot more visible and significant, to say the least.

How Can I Use This Knowledge?

You may look at the images above and think that it’s just a byproduct of taking photos, that there’s no use worrying about something that can’t be helped. Although there are times when this can’t be avoided, color contamination is very real and it is something we can limit a lot if we’re careful.

For example, think twice about photographing the bride right next to a huge bunch of flowers, that green will bounce back onto the face. Consider bringing her slightly forward to avoid that or look at alternatives.

Think about the effect of photographing a model next to a brightly colored car or building. You don’t need to avoid the shot but there are things you can do to limit the effect, like always having the face pointed away from the brightly colored object.

As I documented in the images above, if you can’t avoid the color contamination, always try to have the offending color in the actual shot. The effect is dramatically reduced visually if the eye can see where that color is coming from compared to if you crop it out.

Can I Use This Knowledge to My Advantage?

The good news is that you can use this color contamination effect to your advantage if you’re clever. Remember that this radiosity isn’t exclusive to color — you can use blacks and greys to add dimension to your subjects and objects. You’ll often see studio photographers using black polyboards (large polystyrene boards) either side of the model to control the light, this not only controls the light but also adds a lot of shape through shadow in the process.

I use black sheets and polyboards all the time in my shoots to not only control the light but add depth and shadow to subject. Although these aren’t colored the color contamination principle is still at work.

I will always carry black velvet sheets with me on location to limit the bounce of light around a subject but I also have sheets of grey card in the studio that are less severe than black to add a little definition to the features where necessary.

In the sphere comparison photos above, look at the light grey and dark grey images compared to the black and white images. See how they shape the spheres differently though shadow? Use this to your advantage either in the studio or on location.

Also, consider taking a white sheet with you on location too. Along with my black velvet, I always have a white sheet with me that I can throw up to either bounce in some light or limit the color contamination of nearby colored surfaces.

Fire Your Assistant if They Look Trendy!

Many years ago I was photographing fashion in natural light at the beach. A pretty easy job but the issue was that when I got the images back and started working on them I saw a very ugly and insipid looking greenish tinge to some of the clothing and skin. It was only apparent in some of the shots and it was always localized to certain areas.

It took me a very long time to work out what this was until I remembered that my assistant on the day had a bright yellow/green t-shirt on. In some of the shots, he was in very close to the model holding a reflector just out of shot but not only was he bouncing in light from the reflector, he was also bouncing in light from his hideously ugly t-shirt.

People joke about my grey sweatshirt but trust me, if you’ve ever tried to color balance out greenish tinges to skin you’ll switch to looking boring as hell like me in a heartbeat. When I was assisting all those years ago back in London in the film days, black shirts were mandatory on set, no ifs or buts. Now the sets are a kaleidoscope of color balancing nightmares. Take a look at the BTS of the film industry — how many lighting technicians are you seeing wearing day-glo?! Not many.

I know I sound like a grumpy old man, and although it’s a very real problem it actually only affects certain situations like still life shooters with shiny surfaces or macro beauty work etc. Still life shooters who photograph metal or other shiny surfaces nearly always wear all black to avoid this. Either way, it’s very wise to be aware of it and advise assistants on set to dress appropriately where necessary.

Concluding Remarks

I think this color contamination effect is an incredibly overlooked aspect of modern photography due to the “I’ll fix it later in post” mindset. Not only is it very time consuming to fix it in post but it’s also practically impossible in certain situations due to the colors being outside of the white balance spectrum.

If you’re aware of the colors around you when you’re shooting then you can limit the effect or use it to your advantage where necessary.

Points to Remember
  • Points to remember
  • Think about the color of surfaces around your subject.
  • Should I use another area like a white wall nearby instead.
  • Look at how multiple subject colors interact with one another when in close proximity.
  • Bring a black and white sheet of fabric with you on location to throw over brightly colored objects if you need to.
  • Consider getting some dark and light grey card for the studio and use it as a bounce board instead of white. This will give more shape to you subject than just a white bounce board.
  • Think about what the people on set are wearing. If assistants are going to be close to the final shot, get them to change any brightly colored outfits.
  • Think about what YOU are wearing. If you’re a macro beauty shooter who will be inches away from your subject, you definitely don’t want to be wearing bright colors as it will most certainly have an effect on the shot.

About the author: Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion photographer based in Reading, UK. He specializes in keeping the skill in the camera and not just on the screen. If you’d like to learn more about his incredibly popular gelled lighting and post-pro techniques, visit this link for more info. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, 500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. This article was also published here.



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Make your own DIY microphone shock mount “blimp” using cheap flexible gear ties

Shock mounts are the best friend you can have for a boom mic. They eliminate all kinds of vibration and handling noise from your audio recording. Some microphones come with one, but you’ll often have to buy your own separately. Or, you can do like DIYCameraGuy, Michael Lohrum, and make your own using flexible gear ties. […]

The post Make your own DIY microphone shock mount “blimp” using cheap flexible gear ties appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Make your own DIY microphone shock mount “blimp” using cheap flexible gear ties

Shock mounts are the best friend you can have for a boom mic. They eliminate all kinds of vibration and handling noise from your audio recording. Some microphones come with one, but you’ll often have to buy your own separately. Or, you can do like DIYCameraGuy, Michael Lohrum, and make your own using flexible gear ties. […]

The post Make your own DIY microphone shock mount “blimp” using cheap flexible gear ties appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Bracket Battle: Vote for the best photo of the 2018 Winter Olympics

mikael-kingsbury-takes-photo

They say the best cure for an Olympics hangover is more Olympics. Starting March 1, vote for the best photo of the 2018 Winter Games on the CBC Olympics Instagram story. Winner will be crowned on March 7.



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Long Exposure Photography 101 – How to Create the Shot

This is why catchlights are important for both portrait photographers and their audience

Eyes are the windows to the soul and a very important element in every portrait photo. In this video, photographer David Bergman focuses on a very particular part of portrait photography – catchlights. In only two minutes, he’ll teach you why catchlights are important in your portraits. But he also shares a tip about what […]

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Experiments shooting studio portraits with a wide angle lens

Normally, in portrait photography, using wide-angle lenses is not a common choice for most photographers. Each focal length has its own characteristics, wider lenses are known by their unflattering distortion, seen mainly at the edge of a photograph. Landscape and architectural photographers are more used to it because their need of getting more information inside the […]

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Be There – The Challenges Of Getting Out To Shoot.

Being there at the right time.We all know the aphorism “f8 and Be There”, it’s the basic mantra of landscape photography. Here on LuLa, we’re familiar with the “f8” part, that’s just photography. But it’s the other part, the “be there” part that’s more difficult. MUCH more difficult. But where and when is “there”, anyway? Usually, it’s somewhere photogenic at [Read More]

The post Be There – The Challenges Of Getting Out To Shoot. appeared first on Luminous Landscape.



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How to Create Colorful Artistic Images Using Oil and Water

Colors are the smiles of nature. We see colors all around us and it makes us feel happy and alive. Just imagine a life without color, where everything is simply in black, white and in between, how dull and boring it would be. Luckily, our beautiful world is full of colors.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create some colorful images using just water and oil to make your world even more beautiful.

Oil in Water 17

I am sure you have seen oil and water images on the internet before and may have even tried to photograph it. But this is your lucky day, as you are going to learn a very easy technique where you don’t need any flashes or artificial lights and your pictures will come out beautiful and vivid.

Are you ready for this? Okay, let’s move on.

What you need

Like any other kind of photography, first, you need a camera. You can use any DSLR or compact camera or even your mobile phone. There is no restriction on lens choice as well.

Second, you need a glass dish. Just look in your kitchen and you will find one. If it’s square, that will work great otherwise, a round dish will work too.

I took some photos using a glass bowl but found a little problem. Bowls usually have a smaller bottom compared to the top and this shape affects the picture. Also, bowls may not be 100% transparent, so I went to a local aquarium shop and had them make an 8×12 inch glass tray with one-inch depth. You can also get the same for yourself.

How to Create Colorful Artistic Images Using Oil and Water

Background

Next, you need background images and there is a super simple trick. Go to Google and search for “colorful wallpaper” images. You’ll find lots of wallpapers that you can download and use. Download whichever ones you like, just make sure they have lots of colors and patterns.

Now send these photos to your iPad or tablet (or Google directly on the iPad and save). You will use these pictures as a background instead of a printed one, so you don’t need any lights and the colors will be very bright. If you don’t have a tablet, you may lay your computer monitor or laptop down and use it.

NOTE: If you do this, please do so at your own risk and take all safety precautions.

Other than this, you’ll need water, vegetable oil, dish soap, a plastic sheet to cover your tablet and two boxes about six inches high.

Setup and camera settings

Okay, place the two boxes about 8 inches apart so you can place your tablet between them. Now put your glass tray on top of the boxes. If you are using a glass bowl and it’s small in size, put two metal rulers on the boxes and place the bowl on them.

Now pour some water in the tray and add 4-5 tablespoon vegetable oil to it. When it’s ready, set up your camera. You may fix it on a tripod or you can shoot handheld, but it’s always better to use a tripod and get your hands free to do other tasks.

Set the ISO to 200, aperture to f/5.6, and your shutter speed will be around 1/25th (depending on the brightness of your screen). If you have a wide aperture lens like a 50mm f/1.8, it’s better to use that (you don’t need a lot of depth of field for this type of shot).

Since the water and oil bubbles are on the same focal plane, even if you use an aperture of f/1.8, the entire picture will be in focus. The background will be more blurred which is actually a good thing. So, just go with the widest aperture your lens allows and change the other settings on the camera accordingly.

Now place your tablet below the glass tray. It should be around six inches below the tray. Make sure you wrap it in plastic so if you accidentally drop some water or oil on it, it will be safe.

How to Create Colorful Artistic Images Using Oil and Water

Workflow

Now relax because the hardest part is already done and all you have to do now is change the image on the tablet and take some pictures. When you shoot one image, use a spoon to stir the water gently, let it settle down and take another shot. After four or five shots, change the image on the tablet and repeat the process.

You’ll find that oil drops are very big in size. Don’t worry about it and take some shots. When it’s complete, put a few drops of dish soap or any other liquid soap into the water, mix it well and voila, the oil drops have now become smaller. Don’t try to understand the science behind this, just change pictures on the tablet and shoot three or four pictures, change the photo again, and repeat the process.

Large oil droplets.

Smaller droplets created by adding soap.

Even smaller yet.

Post-processing and finishing up

There is no need for heavy post-processing, just levels, sharpening, and cropping is enough.

Okay, call your friends and tell them that you’ll be busy next Sunday because you’re creating some extraordinary beautiful images. Just do it, share with them and don’t forget to share in the comments below too.

The post How to Create Colorful Artistic Images Using Oil and Water by Ramakant Sharda appeared first on Digital Photography School.



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Google Clips AI camera officially available: it will save important moments for $249

It’s been a while since Google’s AI-powered Clips camera was announced. Now, it’s officially launched and ready to save all your precious moments. The tiny camera is officially available for preorders and it starts shipping in a matter of days. Clips camera is meant to help you spend more time with your family and friends, […]

The post Google Clips AI camera officially available: it will save important moments for $249 appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Get the Ultimate Photography Bundle for Just $97!

thumbnail

Ever been hesitant to print out your photos or even post your latest capture of your kid on Instagram, because you’re not exactly proud of them? (Even if you’re so proud of the people in front of your lens?)

Then I have really good news: Photography is simply a skill, so that means you can learn and get better at it!

If you want a shortcut to photos you’ll be proud to share, you need to check out something called the Ultimate Photography Bundle.

What will this investment in a meaningful skill cost you? To take better photos that preserve those special moments, to organize (and edit!) the photos you do have, and even to earn an income from your photography (if that’s your desire), you can pick up this bundle worth over $5,000 for just $97. It contains 26 ebooks, 21 ecourses, 1 membership site, and 10 tools worth $5,030.63.

But you have to act fast — at a price like this, they can only offer it for five days! Go get yours here

Don’t forget — the bundle goes off sale on Friday, March 2nd at 11:59 p.m. EST.

And if you’re still on the fence, there’s really no risk in getting it because they’ve got a full 30-day happiness guarantee.



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Sony’s dual camera prototype brings ISO 51,200 to smartphones

At MWC 2018, Sony introduced new technology that could have even smartphone cameras “see in the dark.” Their dual camera prototype will be integrated into future Sony Xperia phones, enabling ISO of 51,200 for photos and 12,800 for video. In the video above (at 20:56), you can see a short presentation of the new technology […]

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Google Clips AI camera officially available: it will save important moments for $249

It’s been a while since Google’s AI-powered Clips camera was announced. Now, it’s officially launched and ready to save all your precious moments. The tiny camera is officially available for preorders and it starts shipping in a matter of days. Clips camera is meant to help you spend more time with your family and friends, […]

The post Google Clips AI camera officially available: it will save important moments for $249 appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Death of Celebrity Photography - Fstoppers

Photographer and artist Tyler Shields has announced in a short video that "celebrity photography is dead." No stranger to divisive statements, Shields is exploring the discussion around the democratization of photography and the implications of a new ...



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The 20 Most Breathtaking Birth Photos - Health.com

Giving birth is an emotional experience—and it takes a special kind of photographer to capture the joy, pain, and wonder of a baby coming into the world. To celebrate the best pregnancy and childbirth images, Birth Becomes Her recently announced the ...



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Apple drops some photography tips in new iPhone ads - Cult of Mac

Want to take your iPhone photos to the next level? Apple's got a few tips that just might do the trick. The iPhone-maker dropped two new ads today that are focused on helping iPhone users improve the composition and framing of their photos. Apple's new ...

and more »


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Spring photography workshop offered - The Mountaineer

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest will be the backdrop for this special event. While the date has been selected for the spring wildflower bloom, this program is designed to help participants get the most from the equipment they have. Although participants ...



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Indians Celebrating India at Houston FotoFest - New York Times

Photography in India is a paradox. There are ample commercial opportunities, but not a single school devoted to the medium. So, for the people of the world's seventh largest country — with a population expected to overtake China — choosing a career ...



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The ShiftCam 2.0 is 12 mobile phone lenses with a single case

The phone camera has become a ubiquitous part of daily life. There’s no getting away from them anymore, even if we wanted to. Wherever we go or whatever we do, we always have them with us, and we often get the urge to grab a quick photo with them, even if we own bigger and […]

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The ShiftCam 2.0 is 12 mobile phone lenses with a single case

The phone camera has become a ubiquitous part of daily life. There’s no getting away from them anymore, even if we wanted to. Wherever we go or whatever we do, we always have them with us, and we often get the urge to grab a quick photo with them, even if we own bigger and […]

The post The ShiftCam 2.0 is 12 mobile phone lenses with a single case appeared first on DIY Photography.



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New River to offer photography classes in three locations - Beckley Register-Herald

The basic digital photography classes will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Nicholas County Campus in Summersville on March 12, 13 and 15; the Raleigh County Campus in Beaver on March 19, 20 and 22; and the Greenbrier Valley Campus in Lewisburg on March ...



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Everything you need to start making stunning long exposure photos

There’s something soothing and beautiful in long exposure photos. If you’d like to start making wonderful long exposure images of your own and get it right, Andy Mumford has plenty of great tips for you. In this video, he shares lots of useful advice: from the essential gear you’ll need, to camera settings and composition […]

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Sigma announces NINE new native Sony E-Mount lenses

As if Sigma hadn’t given us enough today. With new 70mm f/2.8 Macro and 105mm f/1.4 Art series lenses, we were already pretty excited. But Sigma also have an extra gift for Sony shooters. Both of the two new lenses today, as well as nine of their popular Art series full frame lenses are being […]

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These are some silly mistakes all photographers make

We all make mistakes, and that’s fine because we can learn something from them. In this fun video, Tony and Chelsea Northrup talk about some common blunders that have most likely happened to all photographers, no matter if they’re newbies or pros. In this video, you won’t hear about common lighting, composition, or editing mistakes. […]

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Sigma officially announces the 105mm f/1.4 Art series “Bokeh Master” lens

Now, this is one that Canon, Sigma and Sony shooters have been waiting for. For almost two years, the 105mm focal length at f/1.4 aperture has remained exclusively in the domain of Nikon shooters. Now, thanks to Sigma, that possibility opens up to a lot more people, and probably at a better price, too. Available […]

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Sigma’s New 70mm f/2.8 is the First Art Series Macro Lens

Sigma has just announced the 70mm f/2.8 Macro, the first macro lens to be released in the Art lineup. Bucking modern day trends, Sigma says it has focused more on optical performance than autofocus speed.

“In recent years, macro lenses in the standard range have tended to employ inner focusing with the goal of maximizing autofocus speed,” Sigma says. “In contrast, the new Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro Art lens is designed to prioritize optical performance, fulfilling the demanding image quality requirements that define the Art line.”

The lens uses a newly developed coreless DC motor that helps adjust focus with both high speed, smooth movements, and low noise. It’s a focus-by-wire system that eliminates any direct mechanical connection between turning the lens’ focus ring and the actual focus drive system. Full-time manual override is available during autofocusing, and the focus ring has a large angle of rotation to provide precise focus adjustments (useful in macro photography).

There’s also an extending, floating, two-group focus mechanism that Sigma says helps minimize aberration and provide optimal image quality at any focus distance.

The optical design helps minimize chromatic aberration, increase resolution at close distances, provide razor-sharp in-focus areas, and produce beautiful bokeh areas free of color streaking.

Other features and specs include compatibility with the Sigma EM-140 DG Macro ring flash (using an adapter), a 49mm filter thread, a dust- and splash-proof brass bayonet mount, a 9-blade rounded diaphragm, 13 lens elements in 10 groups, a minimum focusing distance of 10.2in (25.8cm), a maximum magnification ratio of 1:1, a length of 4.2in (105.8mm), and a weight of 18.2oz (515g).

Here are a few official sample photos captured with the 70mm f2.8 Macro Art:

Canon EOS 5DS R, ISO 100, 1/80s, f/4. Photo by Satoru Korenaga. Canon EOS 5DS R, ISO 100, 1/125s, f/3.5. Photo by Satoru Korenaga. Canon EOS 5DS R, ISO 100, 1/100s, f/2.8. Photo by Satoru Korenaga.

The Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro will presumably be available for Canon, Nikon, Sigma, and Sony when it’s available. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.



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