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Photo Contest #105 - Spot Color

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Our August 2012 photo contest theme is "spot color". Spot color and selective color are hugely controversial topics in photography. Love it or hate it, the emotions run hot over this method. No matter how much one side decries it, "how do I make just one part of my photo color" is the most asked question on many photo boards.

Just like any other technique, it rises and falls in popularity with time. The Orton effect, tilt shift, bokeh shapes, not smiling in portraits, matching family outfits in portraits, the list is long and varied. There is always something new that will soon be something overused.

That doesn't mean that a technique that has been around a while is a bad thing. The trick is to use the method well and not be sloppy with it. No over-saturated eyes overpowering a black and white face, no neon bouquets in a bride's partially black and white hands due to bad selection, etc. The trick with partial color photos is to make the effect subtle and be precise in your area selection.

If you have questions about any of the lessons listed below in conjunction with this contest please ask it in the appropriate forum thread (linked below for your convenience).


Things to Remember
  • Contest Timeframe (photos must be taken during contest): August 1, 2012 to August 31, 2012 (Central Time)
  • Number of Entries Allowed: Four (4) Entries per person (only one per person can win)
  • Entries Must be Numbered: Number your entry in the name field
  • Winner Announcement: Winners will be announced September 7, 2012
Remember that you may need to have a photo release on file for any recognizable person in the photograph.

Spot color works best when not overdone.
While the amount of color vs B&W is up to you, there must be less color in the photo than B&W.
Lower contrast B&W photos generally work best with spot color.

Common Questions
  • Why can't all my photos win? - While we use a contest framework for the assignments, the primary goal is teaching photography. Because of this it is important to have opportunities for more people to receive the professional critiques given to the selected photos. I also feel it is important for multiple viewpoints to be expressed in the contest.

  • Why can't HDR photos be entered? - Because this is a learning exercise the decision was made to not allow images that are composites of any kind so that the grasp of photography fundamentals can better be assessed. Our monthly forum photo contests do allow HDR and other composites to give you a venue to showcase these types of photos.

  • Why can't I put a frame on my photo? - Like any contest, we need to see all the photos presented in the same way. Mats, frames, and borders can add to or detract from the visual impact of an image and change how it compares to other photos.

  • Why was my photo disqualified? - The most common reasons that photos are disqualified are: 1. Lack of model release when needed, 2. Taken outside the contest timeframe, and 3. Excessive digital manipulation.

  • Can I edit my entry? - Entries can be deleted and reentered if needed. Look for the small red "x" next to your most recent entry. If you need a thumbnail or entry title/name edited, please email me.
Assignment 105 - Spot Color Photography Photo Contest Discussion and Questions

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