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Selective Coloration




Selective coloration can be dated back to the early days of photography, when black and white photos were coloured with water or oil colours. In the early 2000s selective coloration became very popular, when layering and masking were implemented in Lightroom and Photoshop. Desired colours could be masked painted and create a surreal dream like image (1).

Today it seems to be have been overwhelmed by AI and other methods. Today Adobe PS Express has a look called „Pop-Color“ that creates an image like a selective coloration image of the 2000s. The only problem is that it only focusses on one colour in the image. To demonstrate the limitations I took a photo with a colourful toy car in-front of a colourful background. The galleries below show the „Pop-Color“-variations that can be compared to this original.


As you can see it selects the defined colour regardless if it’s in the foreground or background (i.e. red, yellow, RGB, etc.).

2022 I developed my own system to create my selective colour images. In my images I keep all of the subject’s original colours so instead of one you have all of the original nuances, hence millions of colours. With the background in black and white these colours really now really pop as you can see below.

My images are often HDR , focus stacked and/or panorama stitched. I initially started with vintage cars and I used my vintage yellow 1984 Volkswagen Beetle. Then I expanded it to butterflies, flowers and fungi. I am still experimenting with the technique many more examples may be added in the future. If you click on the button below you can see, where I have successfully applied the selective coloration.


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Translations by / Übersetzungen von englishlanguageservices.de

(1) www.institute-of-photography.com/selective-colour-in-photography (25/04/2024)