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Tip #5

Play with light and color.

Some of this comes at the time of composing and snapping the shot, and some comes in the post-snap processing (for those who like to play with Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture or other such photo editing software programs).

Avoiding a washed out sky

  • Most of the time, you don’t want to overexpose your shot.  On a bright sunny day, to avoid that washed-out sky that makes photos look so dull, here’s a little trick if you’re working only with a snap-and-shoot and there is nothing in the near foreground of your shot that needs to stay in focus: point your camera and the focal point in the viewfinder to the sky, push down half-way on the shoot button and hold it half-way down to lock in the focus, then frame/compose the photo correctly and snap.

Avoiding a washed out sky

Overexposure & other creative techniques

  • With digital, you can take a number of shots and not worry about costs.  Sometimes you want to overexpose for creative effect.  Perhaps because the correctly exposed photo has harsh shadows or washed out highlights you cannot avoid, or perhaps just because it’s a bit boring.  If you have photo editing software, you can also try boosting the color saturation or using sepia coloring for a certain effect.  (Be careful not to boost the saturation too much if your aim is a realistic photo and not a creative product.)


Overexposure & color saturation for creative effect

Turn some photos into black & white

There’s no reason to shoot in black & white with digital cameras.  Shoot in color to preserve all your options.  But when you get home, change the photo to black & white (i.e. put the color saturation at zero) with your photo editing software.  This often works well for photos with washed-out or cloudy, gray skies.  It also works well for storefront shots (for example, in the Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd, Passage des Panoramas in the 9th, or the Passage du Grand Cerf in the 2nd) and other street scenes (in the Marais or another older neighborhood of Paris, for example) to give the scene the feeling of an older era.  And sometimes the scene or the background of the scene is distractingly colorful and black & white allows the viewer to focus on what is most important (for example, architectural details or the texture of the subject).


Black & white for creative effect and to avoid a washed out sky on gloomy days

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