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    Someone has requested some selective color on some pictures of her daughter. What should I do?



    Make sure whatever you color is the subject.

    Make sure the edges are good.

    Instead of desaturating the rest of the image completely, just mute it. If you do feel a need to desaturate it all, convert to b/w and adjust color channels for a decent b/w image, then add the color layer back in. At least you can always fall back on the b/w image.

    Don’t post it in your portfolio.


    Not all selective color is horrible… just the vast majority of it. You could refuse, too, saying something like “I want to create images you can enjoy for many years, and selective color is too gimmicky and won’t stand the test of time.”



    Or you could say, “Selective color in commercial photography is a fad that will soon pass leaving you with a tacky photograph of your beautiful daughter”


    That’s an interesting concept with just muting the color and not completely removing it.

    kc photography

    what is it they want in colour on there photo ? i hate it but im not saying iv not done it, i have i had to do it when working for someone eles but know im working for myself i try my best to stay away from it.


    I’d say shoot the picture, keeping copies of the original, the post processed image, and the color selected image. Give them the edited ones, and let them decide between color selected and not. Use what looks good to you for a portfolio image if you wish.


    Tell them no.




    I side with Mike.  I think showing them how you feel the image should be seen is important, and so is customer service.

    I was a hair sylist for 13 years.  I look at selective color like I do the mullet.  UGLY!  Is it long?  Is it short?  Is it black and white?  Is it color?  What are you trying to accomplish here?  UGH!  So many mullets I had to do while cringing, until one day, I started trying to talk people out of it.  Plant the seed of suggestion lets say.  I made a lot of people very happy, and comfortable changing over to a style more suited for them.  I lost some clientele though, and I have a feeling that at least a handfull of them probably still cut their hair in a mullet to this day, but at least it wasn’t me doing it anymore.


    By explaining how you feel about it, showing them how you think the image was meant to be viewed, and still doing the selective color for them.  You are still offering good customer service, while “teaching” and “planting that seed”  (and that seed can and will grow).  Your customer doesn’t really want selective color, they just want the lastest and greatest, and the think that THAT is what it is.  MAybe just maybe, if you show them what they really want, they will see the light…then again, there will always be people that wear mullets and think selective color is cool.  If they are the latter, you still served them well, told them how you felt towards it, and planted that seed that may even spread to their friends and extended family.  It’s a win win 🙂

    and YES!  DO NOT post the image in your portfolio at all!


    I love the mullet/selective colour analogy.  Paints the picture really well


    It does not matter if you do not post the picture in your portfolio.  The client’s likely to hand out these pictures to friends, family, etc.  It represents the quality of your work.  Just don’t do it.


    I personally would not do it.  Of course you have to make clients happy, but that is your name attached to that photo even if you don’t put it in your portfolio.


    Yuck… I like someone’s suggestion of telling the client that it’s a fad that will pass and you’d prefer not to do it. If she really insists, and it’s not something horribly ridiculous, I would go ahead to make her satisfied. Customer service side of things. But don’t post online yourself. If she wants something completely cheesy selective-colored (like a lime green rocker belt in someone’s senior pictures, yes I’ve seen this one…) I would maybe refuse though, tell her that it is just not your style and takes away from your professionalism.

    I did senior pictures for a boy in August. After I got their pictures back the mom said she was hoping for more in his suit and tie (of course, they didn’t specify this earlier) but I told her I had that Saturday morning off and if they were willing I could shoot a few in his suit and so we did. It was nearing the deadline for his yearbook submission so I made it a point to edit and present a few online for her to quickly choose and I could email to his yearbook staff. Going out of my way a lot, might I add. One of the poses he was leaning on a railing of a tan-colored abandoned building and she asked me if I could change the color of the wall to blue or green and show her. I was so embarrassed to even post them. I did the best I could to make it look not cheesy but naturally, it did. I kept asking her which photo she wanted for the yearbook, the day before it was due, and she just never got back to me. I did my best I guess. Then I deleted the stupid blue and green background photos. The kid looked much more natural in regular clothes than he did in a suit anyway so I hope they just chose one of his other ones!


    I don’t give anyone digital files. They’re always prints. All of my digital data stays in LR5 and my external drives.

    Granted I’m not in this for profit but I won’t provide an easy path for any person to take my work and plaster it on the internet. If they want to scan the image and change it, be my guest. No one has though, I suspect it’s too much work for most.

    When patients ask me to rx a certain drug for an ocular ailment, I ask them how they’ve heard of that drug. That catches most folks by surprise, and when I drill down with just 2 or 3 more questions, it usually becomes “Uncle Bob told me at a barbeque to ask for it.” I ask what med school Bob attended, and most people smile and nod and start listening.

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