We’ve been super excited to see all the fun ways you’re using the effects in the A Color Story app. So we invited one of our favorite photographers and A Color Story users, @jeffmindell, to offer up his best tips for using the app’s effects in a little Q&A!!
Q: What do you think are the best practices for using effects in A Color Story?
A: For me, I want all my images to feel really bright, happy and colorful, but also very natural. For example, the lime color fog doesn’t make sense to layer over a sky and cityscape, but for a flat lay on a table of the same color would look awesome! I wouldn’t shoot an interior of a home and then add in a warm lens flare, although that same flare would probably really make your image pop should you move your camera to the backyard outside of that same home! Biggest takeaway here is consider your environment and make editing decisions that make sense for that environment.
Q: What are your favorite effects to use?
A: I mostly use light flares and color fogs. For flares, I like 7, 8 and 12. For color fogs, it depends. If it’s for a sky, I like peach, coral, mint, peony, sky. But if I’m filling in an existing color in my photo, I’ll use any.
Q: How do you go about layering multiple effects?
A: For my images with skies, I like to start with a bright sky to begin with. So if the original image has a dark sky, I brighten that up first. Then, depending on the content/context/time of day, I’ll take that into account.
I try to keep in mind the natural color(s) of the sky, but definitely try and have fun with it whenever possible! In one of my images, you might for example see my base color as a light blue, and then I’ll layer in a mint fog followed by a peony fog in an upper corner near an added flare. With a lens or light flare, the colors that come with it are warmer, so the paired color fog should be a warmer tone as well. Your end result will look more natural and typically really pretty (see this next image as reference).
Q: How do you consider your light source when transforming a sky?
A: In the opening photo for example, it was really dark, so I brightened it up. Based on the shadows under the cars, we can tell it’s midday so the sun is really direct and high in the sky. Considering my light source, I will layer shades of blue color fogs to my liking (I tend to lean more on the teal or turquoise hues vs. darker, richer blues). Then I will throw in a light flare or two on top of my color-fogged sky. This not only hides any imperfections I might have in the sky such as striations or graininess, but looks a little more realistic as we are photographing in harsh outdoor light to begin with. Might as well embrace the sun’s natural glow I say! Here’s the before/after of that:
Q: Should you edit your photo before or after you add an effect?
A: I will always, always, ALWAYS edit or tweak a photo both before and after I’m done and happy with my effects I may have applied. Once I’m happy with my placement of any and all effects on my image, I will save it to my phone’s camera roll (just in case I want to use that as a jumping off point should I choose to redo anything!), and then bring the image back into ACS and test out a few of the app’s filters on it. I generally don’t go 100% on a filter but see what it looks like at 50-60% and adjust accordingly from there. By the time I’m done, I will have a pretty interesting before and after between my original and final images!
Credits//Author and Photography: Jeff Mindell