Getting Rich Colors

I often get asked how I get the rich colors for the images that I have.  I always try and see the world as if it was just a little crisper and brighter.  I wanted to walk you through how to get some of those really deep rich colors that are so prevalent in today’s hyper-saturated photography world.  This simple shot was taken while walking around downtown New York in the Rhino Art District.  I love walking around art districts that are set in more “rough” areas because there always seems to be interesting things going on.  I also find inspiration from the art that I see when I look through the windows of these places.  Anyways back to the reason for the post.

First I’ll show you the original image:

Honda Bike


Here you can see that already there are some bright colors.  The orange is crystal clear, and the wall has a nice yellow tone to it.  I also liked the fact that the orange has a nice background of a dark color to make it really pop. 

Here is the final image:

Honda bike final

Here I did all sorts of stuff to clean this up. 

  • Clarity, and vibrance slider both set to 15 to clean up the edges of the colors, and make them a bit more clear in Lightroom 
  • Boosted the contrast a bit in Lightroom, and of course added a sharpening of 25.
  • Straightened up all the edges in Photoshop.
  • I used the warp tool to straighten out the barrel roll.  I find that the Lens Distortion filter doesn’t always work for me.  If anyone has any suggestions I’m all ears.
  • Then I copied the layer and added a layer mask with a white circle in the middle, changing the mode to multiply.  I find that this gives me the best version of a vignette.  I don’t like the way that Lightroom does a vignette, sometimes it works, and sometimes it just looks like black sludge all over a nice looking shot. 
  • I also used the clone stamp tool to take out any thing that was distracting.  For instance there is a logo in the left middle of the image, that I cloned out because it just didnt seem like it should be there.

That’s pretty much it. 


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