Photo Diary 56/365 • Selective Coloring • Sin Or Useful Tool for Photographers?

Follow me on Facebook • Google+ • Bloglovin’


While reading different articles and opinions about selective coloring in photography sites and forums, this super famous song came to my mind, “It’s a sin” by Pet Shop Boys. Is selective coloring a ‘photographic sin’? Then I’m definitely a ‘sinner’, since I’ve used it many times in the past and I will use it again in the future!

If you take a small survey on the internet, you will find two main categories; the one that presents stunning examples of this effect, trying to convince us optically how amazing is to use selective color editing. And, the second category that considers selective color a cheap cliché, explaining why ‘real photographs’ never use these embarrassing for their skills method. What do you think? In which of the two categories are you matched?

Selective color is a post-process technique, where most of the photo is converted in black and white, and some parts of it are left in color. How this technique has turned today to mean something artless and bad is in question, especially if you remember the movies Schindler’s list and Sin City



Both of these movies made a huge success in public and critics and had used this method in their photography. Schindler’s list was nominated many awards, including seven Academy Awards, seven BAFTA’s and three Golden Globes. And, Sin City won the Technical Grand Prize at 2005 Cannes Film Festival.   

The main argument of the naysayers is that selective color draws the attention of the viewer with fake effects and in specific spots with no apparent reason, but only to be pompous and over-dramatic. Moreover, it is so overused that became a cliché. Nowadays, it is amateurs’ gimmick to save their crappy pictures. 


On the contrary, for the selective color enthousiasts this technique is a useful tool that any photographer should experiment. Some times it serves the composition so well and its result satisfies anyone. It can also be used in a less obvious way to correct and enhance tones.

In the short list below you can read more articles with different approaches of this technique.  

Selective Color – Possibly the best tool for photographers on fstoppers.com


Why You Should Never Use Spot Color on expertphotography.com



When to Use Selective Coloring on digital-photo-secret.com

Photoshop: Selective Coloring Creates Stand Out Shots on digital-photo-secret.com

Selective color/spot color. Outdated or Overdone?

As from my humble view, selective coloring is a technique that sometimes can work perfectly in a composition. Some images seem to cry loud for it and other seem too artificial and predictable with it. Of course, it would be so boring and meaningless to transform all my portfolio in a black and white background of colorful spots. But I can’t condemn it with an artistic afforism. Good art, bad art; all these definitions and labels can be interpreted so widely and differently that can include almost anything in them. 


Firstly published and blogged By JWP

All the photos are my original copyrighted work © All Rights Reserved by Ioanna Papanikolaou.

16 thoughts on “Photo Diary 56/365 • Selective Coloring • Sin Or Useful Tool for Photographers?

  1. Διάβασα προσεχτικά όσα μας έγραψες για την τεχνική χρώματος στις φωτογραφίες,Ιωάννα μου.Μ'αρέσει πολύ η φωτό με το λευκό φόντο,τα άνθη της αμυγδαλιάς.Ακόμα δεν έχω καταφέρει να πετύχω αυτό τον ιδιαίτερο χρωματικό τόνο….σ'ευχαριστούμε πολύ γι'αυτές τις χρήσιμες πληροφορίες….φιλάκια!

    Like

  2. Μού αρέσει πολύ αυτή η τεχνική άν καί μόνο σέ μία λήψη τήν έχω χρησιμοποιήσει!
    Πανέμορφες οι φωτογραφίες σου,μέ άλλη διάσταση λόγω τής ασπρόμαυρης τεχνικής!
    Τίς έχεις κάνει στό photoshop?It'a a sin,πολύ αγαπημένο τραγούδι!!
    Καλό βράδυ!!Φιλάκια!

    Like

  3. Δεν χρησιμοποιώ ποτέ photoshop Dimi μου !!! Όλες αυτές οι ρυθμίσεις υπάρχουν και γίνονται στην camera !!! Ψάξε στις ρυθμίσεις για επιλεκτικό χρώμα ή επιλογή χρώματος !!! Σίγουρα θα έχει !!! Πολλά φιλιά !!!

    Like

  4. Καλημέρα Ιωάννα μου!!Εψαξα στήν Nikon καί βρήκα τήν ρύθμιση,ενώ στήν Canon δέν υπάρχει.
    Ηδη έκανα κάποιες δοκιμές!Σέ ευχαριστώ πολύ τίς πληροφορίες!Νάσαι καλά!Φιλάκια!

    Like

  5. υπεροχες φωτογραφιες Ιωαννα! και μου αρεσε και το δευτερο χρωμα που επελεξες…σου βγαζουν μια απιστευτη ηρεμια!

    Like

  6. Wonderful photos!!
    We love to take pictures too, mostly of nature, but also buildings, portraits,… My husband has a photo site (http://fotodominic.skynetblogs.be/) and he likes to experiment with his photos, also with 'selective coloring'. Most of the time nature photos are beautiful as they are, but sometimes with this technique it makes a photo more special, for exemple on a canvas or a postcard,…
    Greetings, Vanessa

    Like

  7. Καλά αμαρτία δεν το λες κιόλας! Είναι καλλιτεχνική άποψη! Νομίζω ότι η φωτογραφική μας έχει αυτή τη δυνατότητα στη λήψη (δυστυχώς ο άντρας μου τα ξέρει καλύτερα αυτά)! Γενικότερα πιστεύω ότι δεν υπάρχουν κανόνες στο πως φαντάζεται το τελικό του κάδρο ο φωτογράφος όταν βλέπει μια real life εικόνα!

    Like

  8. Χαχαχα … Πρέπει να διαβάσεις τα σχόλια που κάνουν στα διάφορα forums!!! Κι εγώ την ίδια άποψη με σένα έχω όσον αφορά τους κανόνες στην τέχνη !!! Πολλά φιλιά !!! Καλή σου μέρα !!!!

    Like

Leave a Reply to Katerina Konstantinou Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.