Photo Tip: Juxtapose a monotone scene with bold colors

By | 2015-11-03T23:54:13+00:00 Sep 14th, 2015|

This morning, I woke up to some pretty cool temps here in Portland with an overcast sky that almost signals some incoming rain. Often times, I’ll run with whatever emotive qualities the weather has on me and begin editing photos. As you could have probably guessed, this morning led me to seek out photos with a certain monotone quality and it was when I stumbled upon an album taken in February in the Lofoten Islands that today’s photo tip emerged in my mind.

On this particular morning in Reine, the weather was what you’d expect it to be. Actually, it was somewhat similar to the weather in Portland this morning, aside from the bitter cold. In addition to providing me with beautiful, even light, the overcast conditions brought on a certain monotone quality. Not quite boring but nothing that caused me to get excited. Initially, I had trouble finding a good composition because my main focus was on the mountain range behind the town. It wasn’t until I meandered behind a fish market and saw a stretch of its dock that I became inspired to seek out bold, contrasting colors to juxtapose against the monotone ones. I knew that the rich, warm color from the wood would play beautifully off of the surrounding scene.

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With this fresh perspective in mind, I began seeking out other bold colors that the town had to offer. Fortunately, Reine and its neighboring villages are dotted with clusters of brightly colored cottages for tourists to rent. They range from red to orange to yellow and even a few blue ones. All I had to do was seek out unique vantage points and compose. Fortunately, the locals in these areas are exceptionally cordial and they were more than happy to let me traipse around their properties. These bright colors had a wonderful effect in making an otherwise dull-colored photo pop.

I bring up this photo tip now because, as the Stark family words go, Winter is Coming, and with that will come a lot more of these monotone scenes. And rather than become disenchanted with it, which is a possibility, I hope you keep this photo tip in mind.

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5 Comments

  1. Sean Galbraith September 14, 2015 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Just never do that selected desaturation to leave just a red rose in a black and white scene. That shit is terrible. :-)

  2. Brian Bonham September 14, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

    That pano is delicious.

  3. David Mullin September 24, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply

    In that last pic, the colors of the buildings contrast perfectly with the green in the water, and you’re right, both contrast beautifully with the monotone of the mountains. Great shot!

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