Selective Coloring

Selective Coloring is a photography art form that comes of age with the advent of digital photography and software post-processing. It is a technique where most of a photo is converted to black and white, but some parts are left in color. The objective is that strategically placed bits of color in a monochromatic image would immediately draw the viewer’s eye.

Even though selective coloring is commonly used in portraiture (keeping some part of the face like the eyes and sometimes the lips in color against an otherwise black and white photograph), it can be used in any types of photograph. In motion pictures, Schindler’s List and Sin City are the two most famous examples of selective coloring.

Selective coloring may seem purely technical and the skeptics may not consider it to be artistic, but as is with any forms of art, even if you have the technical know how, the most difficult part is in making your work beautiful and in making it truly artistic.

Ever since I started with DSLR photography, I have always had an interest in the art of selective coloring. Now a day, I must admit that not only that I love selective coloring, I am a selective colorholic (if there is such a condition). I would probably apply this technique to all of my photographs – as much as it makes sense. I don’t, of course, as is evidence by the very few selective coloring images in my collection.

This page is a collection of my favorite selective coloring photographs.

The Bubble Vendor

The Street Sweeper

She is responsible for the Phạm Ngũ Lão area in Saigon and picks up all the trash along its curbs. She considers herself very lucky, as is with all government positions in Vietnam, it’s very difficult to get a job in the sanitation department. She and her colleagues are almost invisible (without the bright orange uniforms they probably would be), but they perform a very important role in a city that has virtually no public trash receptacles and full of people and tourists. Her job seems almost futile at times as trash are dumped almost as soon as she pushed her bin away, but she is very friendly and has always greeted us with a smile. Her name is Hiếu, and how do I know so much about her? My wife and I were guests at her beautiful wedding.

In the Crowd

I’ll Be Right Back

The Chase

A Flower for Your Love


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