Super-Fast Spot Colouring in LIGHTROOM

Learn Spot Colour in Seconds

Using Adobe Lightroom

Spot Colouring is where you make a black and white photo but leave a part of it coloured. You may see it in wedding photography, and most famously in the film, Schindler’s List – a girl in a red coat dominates one scene.

The technique used to involve masks and photoshop – and a certain level of understanding for it to work.

However, with a few seconds tweaking, you can create the same effect without opening Photoshop or learning about layers and masks

Here’s the example of spot colouring

In this street scene the red coat really stands out, but the shot it pretty ordinary – so to try to make it more interesting, we made a spot colour with just the red coat

Here’s how we did it – in 3 minutes!

The spot colouring technique is very easy for this shot where the coat is bright red. It may be a bit more involved for different colours…. but hopefully, this 3 minutes will show you the basics of spot colouring so you can try it yourself.

A Wet Workshop at Malham

January’s Malham Workshop 2017

We always run a landscape workshop at Malham in January fo those who’ve got a new camera for Xmas and want to learn how to take great countryside shots in the best area of the dales.

It’s also pretty close to Leeds and Bradford, so not far to travel.

This year we had pretty grim weather, not raining all the time, but a lot of grey skies and the occasional shower.

A Slight Deviation

So when it’s grey and wet, you need a Plan B destination, for this one it was the stunning Scalebar Force, about 8 miles from Malham in the Settle direction.

Here I firstly taught the group about manual exposure – how using spot metering and a hand, can get the right exposure for most scenes! They’d never seen the technique before, so that was great.

Then we descended to the waterfall and got the shots you see here. These were my demo shots – just to show them a few ideas. I’ve got about 1000 shots of this waterfall…. so just packed the camera away and helped each delegate individually.

They’re all taken on the 5D Mark 4 with a 16-35F4 L and polariser

 

Here is a detail shot of the far side of the waterfall – used a longer lens to get this.

Road to Malham

After Scalebar, we headed over the Kirkby Malham road, stopping to get a few shots of the highland cattle by the road.

Just before Malham itself we stopped by the roadside to go over the metering methods again, and show them a few composition ideas. Here we have lead lines from the bottom left walls – they lead the eye to the cliff which is off centre (kinda the rule of thirds. This was taken with the 70-200mm lens.

Next we headed down to Gordale Scar – a few hadn’t seen this before, so it definitely got a WOW as we entered!

Above the main waterfall is this hole – always looks great with the stream pouring thorugh

 

On the way back to the cars, we got a few shots of the greens in the stream – you can see just how grey it was, note that this has been processed a LOT to get that sky detail… and has suffered a lot with halos on the sky line.

Next down to the lovely Janet’s Foss – this is around 15 feet tall and very pretty.

At the end, we were going to the famous tree on Malham Rakes, but the weather up there was horrendous – I did ask the group if they wanted to do it – but it was a resounding “no chance”. For once, I think it wasn’t worth it – the weather would have soaked the cameras and all the photos would have water spots on them.

Last Blast of Light

On the way back down from the Rakes, we got 10 minutes of warm light – really diffused through all the clouds and distant rain. We pulled over and got a few shots – all with Long Lenses.

Tornado Steam Train on Ribblehead Viaduct

A 50 year Wait – Tornado Steam Train Scheduled Service

I didn’t wait 50 years – but it was 50 years ago that the last steam train service ran over the iconic viaduct in the Dales.

It was only for a few days in February so I decided to brave the weather and head up there. I’d incorrectly assumed that every train would be steam, so had a shock when I saw about 6 normal boring ones going over the viaduct!

So I got a LOT of shots without the train on….

This is from the Ingleton side – the sun falls directly on to the arches, definitely worth a look if you’re up there

The sun was out for a while – but Whernside was properly in shadow for this one!

This was taken from the roadside as I was heading to Ingleton for some lunch

On the way back from lunch we had more sun – so thought I’d get a few shots as the shadow slowly engulfed the arches, one by one.

This is near White Scar on the side of Ingleborough

Back to the rocks, where I was for AGES

 

Really liked this crack in the limestone

Many hours later

I was stood on these rocks for nearly 3 hours – no 4G, unchanging light, tried hundreds of photos – bit of Focus Stacking practice, which is really easy with the 5D4’s new touch screen shutter.

I’d almost given up by 4ish then people started gathering in the distance, behind the Ribblehead Pub.

The Kit and Settings

So got the 24-70mm lens on, ND grad (3 stop) in place and the polariser on. With hindsight, the polariser didn’t make much different AND forced me to up the ISO to compensate for the long shutter. After all – the train is moving, i guessed I needed about 1/100th at least for it not to blur.

  • F8

  • 1/160th

  • ISO 1000

All alone on the rocks

Amazingly I was the only person on these rocks – was expecting lots of company, but I think people were more interested in the actual train over the steam patterns.

I was looking for an epic landscape with hard, cold limestone in the foreground, then the bridge in the background with a long plume of steam as the train passed over.

I got lucky – it’s exactly what happened! And the rain stopped for the moment when the train actually passed.

It goes very slowly over the viaduct, so you can fire off many compositions as it passes – I’d have got 20-50 shots I expect – you just don’t want to miss out having waited for so long.

Colour shows how grey the day was – I’ve eeked a lot of texture out of that sky in processing.

Using a different white balance, taken from the limestone, you get a cooler vibe

The train leaves the viaduct, and doesn’t stop at the station! Ingleborough in the background too.

So there you go – I’m not a trainspotter and have no knowledge of steam, other than clouds of it look really cool on viaducts in the dales!

 

Castlefield Manchester – Canals and Viaducts

Water and Rail Meet at Castlefield Manchester

Castlefield is incredibly central in Manchester, a stone’s throw away from the massive Beetham Tower and Deansgate Station. It’s a stunning place for every photographer to enjoy, be that shooting the architecture reflected in still waters, taking a model down there and using the industrial backdrops or shooting a car down there – with girders and bricks reflected in its shiny bodywork.

Great on a Dull Day

Castlefield Manchester is one of those places where you don’t really need bright sun to enjoy it – when you’re below a bridge, the sky can be flat and boring and will create a fantastic shot. It may be worth bracketing your photos to create an HDR later – a with this first photo.

Practice your HDR

The dynamic range between the sky and the arch to the right was pretty huge, so I did need 2 shots – each 2 stops apart.

Other stuff, like bikes on walls, are all over the place.

The canal leaves the basin and heads into the City

A perfectly placed Peroni!

A bright red boat outside the basin… and a friendly mallard

Just about managed to frame the background with the arches using a 16mm lens!

The industrial museum is a gem of a buildings

Below the foot bridge over one of the docks

 

Massive girders! 

Footbridge and 2 railway lines

There is a road way through the area too – you can see the size of these grey columns with the cars to the right

Old beer barrels behind an abandoned pub

Fantastic place for reflections

HDR detail of the cobbles

Mix of new architecture around the dock area

3 Tips on Looking Like Leaders – Show How You Work

How do you do what you do….

Simon Sinek’s hugely popular TED TALK talk on branding talks about:-

  • Why you do what you do
  • How you do it
  • What you make/do

If you’ve not seen it – here it is on YOUTUBE – it’s well worth a look.

 

If you look at the “why” – that’s usually a mission statement, tricky to photograph, but the “how” is something which we can support with great images.

“How” you do something is a huge part of your offering – being seen as experts and using an expert team helps make you the “go-to” supplier.

Show People How You Work

Photographing you or your team in action instantly tells people a massive amount. If gives personality to the images, it’s evidence you exist & that you have a team, it shows you the “vibe” of your organisation…. and much more.

Here are a few examples from the McFade Archives

1 Show your “skilled workers”

If you have a team on the workshop floor, showing each step of what they do instantly hints what they do – a small explanation is all that is needed. Far more effective than copy alone.

These images are from a light industrial company with a huge variety of processes – each page on their website had an image at the top to introduce the process. How many people do you think just looked at the photo, not bothering to read the text?

 

A huge car supermarket chain prides itself in using all the latest technology and skilled mechanics on each car as it arrives.

A cabinet maker in action – the concentration on his face says it all!

Add some personality to your bar photos with your “mixologist” in action

2 – Show Yourself In Action

If you’re self-employed then you can show yourself being the expert. This is Oksana, a personal trainer, we wanted to create some dramatic image to attract the right type of clients. What better than showing Oksana “walking the walk”? 

If you’re a consultant, then how about visiting a client site and doing some of your tasks. Gavin helps hotels grow and trains their staff, here are a few shots of him in different scenarios.

 

3 – Show Yourself Presenting

Only experts get invited to talk at conferences – right?

Well probably yes, so what better opportunity to lift your profile than having someone take images of you in action – with an engaged audience hinted at with blurry heads in the foreground.

This is website expert Andy Firth talking to a packed room in Sheffield

Gary King presenting at a business seminar

Rachel Hatfield sharing her Social Media expertise

 

Be First In People’s Minds

When people think of your industry – you want them to think of you FIRST. Then you want them to think you are are THE GO TO EXPERT.

Support this with great images of not only what you do but HOW YOU DO IT and you’ll see your business recommendations sky rocket. 

 

A few more recent examples

 

Craftsman making bath bombs!

Web developers creating

Electrical engineer testing with latest iPad software

Gas fitter servicing a boiler

Team re-processing lots of waste fluid containers