Any photographer wants the perfect conditions. Good light, clear atmosphere, sunlight, excellent contrast, balanced subjects in the frame. But sometimes the universe is against it and nothing seems to work. The sun is too strong and the sky becomes white. Or the sun is missing and the sky is gray. It was a hot summer and the grass is burned. No contrast what so ever and the landscape is dull. Don’t lose your courage. A good photographer knows a trick or two to get the perfect photo out of nothing. Looking for the color is one of them.
When all you have are neutral tones that blend very well together, you can create a photograph of an atmosphere. Look for subjects that inspire to calm and serenity. Imagine a scene that paints the moment, focusing on the base color, using the light you have. It can be a soft and diffused light or, on the contrary, a hard and very bright light. The best example of beautiful pictures with low contrast are the ones where haze is involved. Don’t be afraid to break some rules of composition or exposure. A photograph is very similar to a painting and all the rules a made to be broken.
In any scene and any lighting conditions, you can find a splash of color. Pay attention! It can be a very small splash, like a red berry in an entire beige landscape or some drawing on a gray building. Details, even small ones, can completely change a scene. Maybe is a cultural detail, maybe is something to so with the season. A small colorful detail can give a sense and a story to your picture.
Similar color patches
For different reasons, the entire scene doesn’t look good. But maybe parts of it are. For example, if the sky is ruining your picture, focus below the horizon. Look for patches of similar colors where the accent is given by texture or pattern. Maybe something dramatic is happening between the yarn of grass. For architectural photography is always a good idea to look for details, ornaments, and portions of color.
Polarizing and color intensifier filters
When composition doesn’t help you to achieve the picture you want, you can always turn to technology. A polarizing filter reduces the polarized light coming from the sun. It is often used to improve the aspect of the sky in not so perfect conditions. A polarizing filter will increase the contrast and enhance the colors.
The intensifier filters are designed to enhance all the colors in the image or a certain color. They can be uniform or gradually colored. Depending on their color, the general effect will be warming or cooling the colors.
Practice your creativity by taking pictures in all conditions. The “perfect moment” is when you have the camera with you. The rest is imagination.