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Color and travel photos

Use color to spice up your travel pictures


The blue water and the suntans tell you this is a sunny place, but this picture would be lifeless without the bright yellow of the rafts.
The blue water and the suntans tell you this is a sunny place, but this picture would be lifeless without the bright yellow of the rafts.

Travel pictures, especially those taken while vacationing, should remind you of the good times you experienced away from home. It's a great feeling, when you look at your holiday pictures months after returning home, to realize a smile has crept over your face and you are truly enjoying the memories brought out by the photographs. If your pictures are sharp, bright and color-filled, they can be even more uplifting.

ALL IT TAKES IS A SPLASH OF COLOR

Color affects our thinking, our perception of things and our emotions. If your travel pictures are mainly dull or drab, they will be disappointing. Often, all it takes to liven a scene is a small splash of color - a red hat, a rainbow-colored shirt or a flower, for example - yet many photographers overlook color consideration when taking pictures.


LOOK TO ADD COLOR WHEN IT ISN'T THERE

Most popular holiday destinations offer an abundance of colorful objects that can easily be included in your pictures, if only you take the time to think about it. Being mindful of the benefit of color in travel pictures is half the battle. When you're about to take a holiday picture, ask yourself if the scene could use a dab of bright color to bring it to life. If so, have a quick look around for some means of adding that missing ingredient. It could mean a change of background to include a flower-filled bush, the addition of a bright scarf to someone in the picture or something as small as a single showy blossom in someone's hand.

WHITE CLOTHING

Many of us tend to wear white clothing while traveling in warm climates. Nothing wrong with that; it's quite sensible, in fact, when the sun is beating down. Unfortunately, white clothes are just about the worst choice for photography, especially considering their reflective effect outdoors where they play havoc with light meters. A subject fully-clothed in white will certainly stand out, but more as a beacon rather than as a part of the scene. But, attach a colorful piece of fabric - a hat, shirt or neckerchief - or, use a backdrop of colorful scenery, or add a local parrot whose personal decor is particularly colorful, and suddenly the subject in white looks like someone on holiday instead of a doctor in a clinic.

Clothing that lacks bright coloration and a drab background don't contribute to the sense of fun. A brightly-colored shirt or even a yellow hair ribbon would have made all the difference.
Clothing that lacks bright coloration and a drab background don't contribute to the sense of fun. A brightly-colored shirt or even a yellow hair ribbon would have made all the difference.

Although the subject's clothing is white, the parrot's coloration is all that's needed to brighten this scene, and to make it say,
Although the subject's clothing is white, the parrot's coloration is all that's needed to brighten this scene, and to make it say, "Hey, this a holiday picture!"

BRIGHTLY-COLORED CLOTHING

Think of the famous Hawaiian shirt, and how colorful it usually is. When you see someone dressed in one, you know they're not attending a convention (at least not at that moment), but rather, they're enjoying a break and allowing the colorful shirt to add to their festive mood while traveling.

Color has the same effect on your travel pictures. Include it and you lift your spirits. Leave it out and you'll wonder whether you really had a good time. It's true. Color is a great pleasure stimulant.


CHOOSE A FILM THAT IS KNOWN TO CAPTURE COLOR

Some films boast of their ability to reproduce color in rich, saturated tones, while still retaining a natural look. Many such films are great for landscapes, but make people look too red. But some, however, reproduce flesh tones well while also providing good color saturation. Fuji Reala, for instance, is one color negative film that is known for its superb handling of color and of skin tones. Reds are truly red, and green looks like green should look - deep, full and rich - while skin looks natural.

When your subjects are not dressed in colorful clothing, choose a backdrop that is rich in color, and use a film that is known for its color saturation. A polarizing filter adds the final touch.
When your subjects are not dressed in colorful clothing, choose a backdrop that is rich in color, and use a film that is known for its color saturation. A polarizing filter adds the final touch.

A splash of color in the fisherman's shirt and the use of a polarizing filter make this an attractive travel picture.
A splash of color in the fisherman's shirt and the use of a polarizing filter make this an attractive travel picture.

USE A POLARIZING FILTER TO ENRICH COLOR

On a sunny day, a great deal of color can be concealed by glare. A polarizer will eliminate glare reflected from leaves, revealing the true color of foliage. It helps to reduce reflections, bringing out the natural color of a scene, and also darkens skies so that they have a deep blue, tropical look. If you are looking for deep, rich color in your travel photos, use a polarizing filter to bring it out.


SHOOTING SLIDES? UNDEREXPOSE FOR COLOR

Underexpose your slide film a tad - say, a quarter-stop - to saturate the colors of a travel scene. The amount of underexposure is minimal, and your pictures will still look fine. The colors, though, will be more intense - deeper and richer. If you are shooting film with a speed of ISO 200, shoot it at ISO 250. That's a 1/4 stop, and should be enough to intensify the color but still give you acceptable contrast.

If you are shooting with a digital camera or plan to scan your prints onto a computer, you will be able to increase the saturation in your pictures using image-editing software, thereby intensifying the colors.

Under-expose your slide film a bit to saturate color.
Under-expose your slide film a bit to saturate color.