I uploaded several pictures to Flickr yesterday. All of them are macro pictures. The problem with Macro pictures can sometimes be that the background is not ideal for the subject you are photographing but when you are taking photos of flowers or insects, you oftentimes cannot do much about the background, since you can’t just put the insect somewhere else (at least not if it is alive). Due to these „restrictions“ I had a macro shot of a grashopper that I find amazing but almost nobody was viewing it on Flickr because the small thumbnail that Flickr is using for the display in the groups, made the subject indistinguishable from the background:
(I wouldn’t have clicked this pic either….)
I was thinking about what a pity it was that this picture was going unnoticed. Then inspiration struck (a true lightblub moment 😉 ).I thought about how the picture would look like as a black & white with the grasshopper itself in color. This is a technique that I have used several times before and that can give you amazing results. If you are using Photoshop (even Express should be able to do this) or GIMP, its quite easy to achieve. Simple duplicate your picture layer and transform that layer to Black & White to your liking. In this instance I used a B&W similar to one that would be achieved with a Green Filter. Afterwards I did put a mask on the layer. A mask allows you to let elements of the layer below shine through – since that layer is the original photo, parts of the mask you make black, will make color re-appear in your picture.
The problems with this method can be that it is hard to get only the elements you want to re-appear. Especially if there is not a high contrast between the areas you want to keep B&W and those you want to be colored. This was the case for me with my grasshopper. I was able to use the auto-select tool of PS CS3 (I keep forgetting what it is called – the one that is on the same button as the magic wand) for most parts but some of the details didn’t get selected this way, so I had to do the rest by hand (sadly, it shows but I wasn’t willing to spend hours on this).
Afterwards I uploaded this version to Flickr, too. I got triple the views yesterday – although it wasn’t online as long and in groups that don’t force you to comment. Plus, it looks better, imho.
What do you think? Which one looks better?