The Colors of Dolly

I wanted to make posed pictures more compelling, so I altered the colors to look almost right yet still quite wrong.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the costumes and characters of Hello Dolly inspired me to seek a look somewhere between hand-tinted black and white and faded color. My experiments resulted in pictures that might really stand out in a newspaper, because the colors are almost right, yet obviously wrong.

As this is the premier blog for lazy, impatient, disorganized photographers, you will be pleased to hear that once I came up with the “formula,” the manipulations were not difficult or particularly time-consuming.  All of the manipulations were achieved with standard features of Apple Aperture.  Although each image requires individual tweaking of levels, the main effect is achieved by adding a mild sepia tone to the entire image, cranking up the “vibrancy” control, and then, in most cases, adding a big, dark vignette effect around the corners of the photo.

I think the sepia wash smooths the apparent tonal range of the images, soothing the eye's journey from the highlights to the shadows.

Naturally, the images have to be lit and posed well, and we need to capture inherently interesting expressions, too. But I find this color treatment both flattering and compelling.

One size does not fit all when it comes to color manipulation. Comparing this image to the one below, I suspect the right amount of sepia and vibrancy is somewhere between the two.

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Filed under Composition, Dance and Theater, Post Processing

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