Tag Archives: conceptual

Is Saturation Important?

What is saturation?  Simply put, saturation is the level of color in a color.  What?  Let’s say you have the color blue.  If the color blue is 100% it is fully saturated.  As you start to decrease the color blue to 90%, 80%, 70% and so on it becomes less saturated.

Another way of thinking of it is visually.  If I have a blue that is 100% color blue it shows as a bright pure blue.  As I add the color orange to it will become less blue.  Why orange?


Orange is the secondary color that is opposite of blue, a primary color, on a color wheel.  So, the more orange I add to the blue the less blue it becomes.  It’s still blue, just not as blue.  The blue becomes duller in intensity.  The color looks softer.

How does this help in photography or interior decorating/design?  Well, In nature fully saturated colors are almost impossible. When you are mixing and matching photographs, paintings, pictures and the colors painted on a wall this is worth remembering depending if a natural look in terms of color, or an unnatural look, if desired.

Some of you are saying,  “ I’ve seen fully saturated colors in photographs.”  Well, yes and no.  Assuming that the photographer did not alter the photo and that it is natural, you can get a very high level of saturation.  But it still is, technically, not 100% saturated.   Our eyes perceive it to be saturated but remember a computer can tell a .1% difference in color but can your eye cannot  Also, this degree of saturation depends on exterior forces such as the amount of light, the source, and even the time of day.

One way that you can control the saturation in a picture is to use colored filters.  These are either a glass filter you can place on your lens or a piece of plastic wrapped around your flash if you are in a studio.  A large following of photographers prefer to use this method, while others still prefer to use post production methods such as Photoshop to make these changes.  Either way, you can get nice vibrant in your face photographs, or the dreamy, soft variety.  The choice is yours.

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Objective or Subjective?

Gianni, an old gardener, lived by himself in a small village in Italy.  One afternoon,  4 tourists stopped at his house and asked if they could gain access to his garden.  One of them explained they had seen the garden from the street and wanted to take pictures of it.

Seeing no issue with these tourists being in his garden, the old man said he would be delighted if they walked in his garden and gave them access to it.

Soon the old man heard a heated debate between the tourists about being subjective and objective and what was better for art and photography.  Gianni joined them on the garden path and said in a frail voice,  “There is a large cobblestone wall.  Do you consider it to be inside the picture you take or outside your picture?”

One of the tourists replied “ I believe objectivity is most important in art.”  It doesn’t matter what you think about the wall, it’s just a wall.   So I would say that the wall is in my picture.”

Gianni said, “You must be a very strong young man if you are carrying that wall in your camera.”

-Modern retelling of an ancient story.

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The Fabulous 5 Rules Art Game

The potential of the photographic art you own to tell others about you is directly related to the feeling you first had when you saw it for the 1st time.  If you have bought art because you admire it and you are happy to share that work with anyone who comes in your home, then both you and your art are living up to it’s ability to express your personality.

When I play a little game in my head called “Would I own it?”    I’m actually thinking about what I see very carefully.  See, in this mind game you ask yourself “Do I like it?”  In other words, regardless of who made it, would I want that art hanging or displayed in my home.

If you’d like to play this game, the following rules and questions need to apply.

1.  Ignore the price.  In fact, Don’t look at the price tag.

2.  Is that piece art?  Does that piece of artwork match your personal definition of what art looks like?

3.  Do I like it?

4.  Would I display it in my home? Office? Should I give it to someone as a gift? Do I know someone who would like this piece?

5.  Take about 10-15 sec. per work to answer those questions.  It will quickly help you discover what styles and periods you like in art and decoration and what you don’t.  I’ve learned I like Southwest art a lot, but I steer clear of Warhol type displays.

You will learn about what you like and don’t like in art.  You may even catch the collecting bug and become an art collector.  In the end, your personal preference does matter in what you display at work, home, or even give to your friends and family.

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The Professional Photographer You May One Day Be.

A famous photographer put together a 5-day photography workshop in the Vatican.  Now it came to be that this photographer was notorious for having an attitude and a bit of an aristocratic air of superiority.  However, his pictures were incredible and most people forgave his attitude to try to learn and copy his techniques.


By the 3rd day of the workshop, his skills and techniques for superior photography had his students listening with intensity to his every suggestion and command.  They had spent most of their time studying natural lighting and the rules of composition.


Suddenly, a feeling of excitement hit the small group of students.  The Pope was walking between buildings surrounded by cardinals and other high-ranking members of the Church.  Everyone in the workshop quickly lost their composure and started taking as many pictures of the Pope as they could. It looked like an attack of the paparazzi.



After several minutes of chaos, and several stern looks from security, the students returned to their famous teacher.  He started by saying, “Well, as you can see, that was an exciting event.”  “But, you’ll notice that I still took my time, I watched my angles, my lighting and I practiced the rules of composition to make sure that I made my pictures of the Pope  correctly.”  He continued, “You may have noticed, that I did take several shots in rapid succession, something I never do, because of the rarity of such an event taking place.”  “However, I maintained my composure and acted as the professional you may one day be.”


All of the students were nodding in agreement and wishing they had this photographer’s composure; except for one student who started to giggle.  The photographer looked on with disapproval and exclaimed, “You there, why are you laughing?   “Well sir”, she replied,   “Your lens cap is still on.”


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6 Questions To Ask Before Taking A Picture

When you think about it, the photographer has to answer a lot of questions before you can actually take a picture.

How is the picture being made?   What’s the real conditions and environment for the picture and what are my responses to those conditions?

  1. Am I using my camera in the horizontal position or the vertical?  What fills the viewfinder better.
  2. Am I using a very fast shutter speed to get a crisp clean look, or am I going to use a long shutter speed to blur the image a bit?  Realistic or artistic?
  3. What lighting source do I have?  Do I have natural lighting, like the sun or moon, or artificial, like street lamps and /or studio lighting.
  4. What’s my angle?  This is important to getting a great picture.  Sometimes the best angle is directly above the subject and sometimes from below.  A question I sometime have to ask is ” Do I really need to lay in that mud to get the shot?”
  5. Do I need to follow one of the rules of composition for this, if so, which?  I could choose to use the rule of thirds, the rule of lines, or the golden ratio.  Maybe I don’t want to follow the rules.  Maybe I’m feeling rebellious and wish to wing it that day.  Each rule or “way” can have you placing your subject in a slightly different place in the viewfinder of your camera.
  6. Do I need to change the scene?  You have a great shot of a beautiful flower.  Everything works out great until you get it home, load it on the computer, and then discover that one of the leafs on the plant next to the flower had a dead spot on it.  Your attention to the flower is totally dominated by this dead brown thing.


Its possible to ask and answer some of these questions in the same breath.  I can imagine that those people who take thousands of photographs a year probably know the answers almost before the question is even asked in their minds.  Nonetheless, this is  only a beginning of the questions you ask of yourself before you start snapping away.


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