Make Your Subject Pop With This Simple Trick

Sometimes the simplest of changes can have a drastic impact. In this video, you see how localized coloring and saturation can make your subject really stand out.

This tutorial by Moe Zainal is marketed as one for photos of cars, but this is very similar to a technique I have written about with controlling colors in a localized fashion. By removing unwanted colors from a scene, and my accentuating colors you do want, you can make your subject pop out of the image.

For a lot of my product imagery, colors in the blue and orange range can seep in to the frame almost unnoticed. I am always vigilant with them as removing colors you did not intend to have in the scene is always a good first step to color grading. Zainal goes for a quicker technique than I use, but desaturating the image in Lightroom by -70 and then bumping up the colors he wants by +100 in the color panel. I haven't tried this technique as I find being aggressive with any slider value can lead to artifacts creeping in to my image, but our aims are identical. I tend to do it all in Photoshop, using adjustment layers to lower the values of certain color families, and then I mask my subject back in.

What do you do in post-production to make your subject pop?

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2 Comments

user-156929's picture

I perform triage on my photos and treat them accordingly; no one-size-fits-all.

David Pavlich's picture

How about a good dose of tone mapping via Photomatix Pro? :-) I know it makes your head hurt and isn't the selective color that is demonstrated in the video, but you asked what we do to enhance our shots. As an aside, this is a Bristol Freighter that is on display at the Royal Air Museum in Winnipeg, MB. I have a printer, so I made a 16X24, printed it on Red River's metallic based paper and donated it to the museum for their annual charity event. It garnered $170 CDN at their silent auction.