Color Image Assignment 

The overall assignment includes the use of color print film, processing the film (NOT with chemicals used for black and white), scanning the negatives, using PhotoShop to prepare the images, and printing 8 x 10 color images on the Goshen College color laser printer.

Schedule - Spring 2001
Thursday, March 15.  You will receive film and at least basic content and exposure goals of the assignment. 
Thursday, March 22.  You will receive print assignment goals and and information handout on the scanning the negatives.
Thursday, March 29.  You will have image files from this film on your M:drive ready to use PhotoShop commands for enhancement and/or manipulation. You will make trial prints.

Thursday, April 5.  You will have a completed final prints.

You may use subject matter consistent with your work group.
Make two final prints. See this link about sending images to the printer before printing.
One negative and print should be printed as the best possible straight color print that you can make. 

  1. The print should not look manipulated in any way, but it should be enhanced to look like the best possible print you can make from the negative. 
  2. Some cropping may be done, but nothing should be removed, added, or distorted digitally.
A second print from the same negative and/or from another negative is treated in a creative and surreal way including one or more of the following.  This print will get us into the use of Selection Tools, Cutting and Pasting, Layers, Filters, and Transformations.  While the tools and commands are great fun to use, we want to look for ways to create meaning and feeling in the work.
  1. Make certain parts of the image in full color and make other parts in black and white in order to add emphasis, mystery, or an old/new look.
  2. Combine parts from more than one negative in order to create surreal juxtapositions that questions our assumptions about reality.
  3. Use filters to contrast an artistic effect (i.e. a drawing look) that is used for part of the photograph while another part is very realistic in order to stretch the expected boundaries of photographic presentation.
  4. Change the scale or perspective in certain areas to create a surreal effect to show humor, fright, or another emotion.
  5. Invent a different approach (your choice) that could not be easily achieved in the darkroom.
Part II: Scanning
Scanning instructions are now at this link.

Subject Matter and Content for Color

Select ONE visual (design) element, compositional principle, or compositional effect in addition to color and find things to photograph that illustrate and emphasize the element or principle you select.  Stick to one idea for the whole film.

  • Visual Elements are - line, shape, texture, value or tone, volume or form and color. 
  • Compositional (Design) Principles are - repetition, unity, balance, harmony, theme with variation, contrast (not just tonal contrast, but all kinds of contrasts), emphasis, and so on.  Principles use the elements in effective ways to make the composition work.
  • Compositional Effects - motion (can be caused by diagonals, curves, repetition, etc.), depth (can be caused by blurring background, size, overlapping, tonal difference, placement, and color temperature, intensity, saturation, tone, etc.), 
  • Search your environment with an eye for one of the elements, principles, or effects.  Look at small things and large things.  Look at many framing options.  Photograph a variety of sizes from very close to very inclusive.
  • Consult with your group members. Share and discuss ideas you notice and are looking for.
How to be Creative
Creative people are more aware and sensitive (in the area working), more confident, they take more risk, they tend to look at opposites, they deal with unpleasant stuff, they see unique similarities, they tolerate many unfinished tasks, they have a high energy level, they enjoy experiencing more than than judging.  You can get ideas by making lists, by sketching, by discussing ideas, by looking, by asking questions, by relaxing to empty your mind (take a long solitary walk or soak in the tub - with a pencil and paper near by).  

People are more creative when they prepare their minds.  Study the problem ahead of time.  Then put it to rest while expecting a creative answer to come out of the blue or when you get down to business - when the assignment is due and you have to get it done.

Camera Settings
Pay attention to film speed. Be aware of depth of field and sharpness issues. When you get very tight and close to the subject, depth of field is less and you may need to use a small aperture and show shutter with camera support. 

Lighting issues
Color film that is over exposed and under exposed will have less color saturation and prints with more noticeable grain. While learning, it is good insurance to bracket both over and under the recommended settings. Individual camera meters often give false light readings, so bracketing can help us find out about this. An experienced photographer working with a particular camera and a particular film in various lighting situations gets a feel for how to second-guess the meter. 

Color Balance
The color late in the evening and early morning is described as sweet light because it produces a warm soft glow that is flattering to many subjects. Each type of light has a different color balance.  Daylight film is correctly balanced for direct sun and strobe lighting.  On some films an open shaded scene is more bluish than a direct sun scene.  Fluorescent lights create a green bias and tungsten light bulbs create an orange bias.  Special color lens filters can correct for this. Photoshop also provides color correction tools, but digitally corrected images are often not quite as believable as the ones that are made correctly in the camera. 

Color Theory
Black and white benefits by abstraction.  It is less real and therefore feels more like art. Color can suffers from being too close to nature.  Hence, the photographer's job can be more difficult unless we are merely creating illustration as in explanatory and descriptive photos.  Make selections that seem color dependent.  Pick what would not work as well in black and white.

Artists know that warm and cool colors have different psychological effects. These colors vary in how close or distant they feel in a composition.  Color saturation (intensity) also does these things. Dark and light colors also have these effects. Non color elements and principles such as shape, texture, line, placement, size, content metaphor, and so on combine with color to create the final effects.  Since a photograph is a flat illusion, artists are able to create intentional contradictions within this illusion.  When this happens, the viewer experiences the image's magical powers.

Processing the Film
We do not stock chemicals for color film. Take it to any commercial processor and ask for developing only and no printing (unless you want to pay for prints). Processing only should cost less than $2 (ask ahead of time) and many places will do it in an hour or less.

Consult with your student assistants.  In addition to your regular student assistants there is an e-mail with several others you can call on.

E-mail me at anytime you have a question related to this assignment, but please don't put things off to the last minute.  We can make great photos even when there are problems if there is a bit of time to work at it.

All rights reserved ã 2001 Marvin Bartel, Photography Instructor, Goshen College
Goshen students may make a copy for their own use. e-mail
Others need to e-mail for permission to copy or post as a web page.  Links from other pages to this page are permitted.

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Preparing a PhotoShop image file to be a good conventional photograph
To the  Printing Link
To the Scanning Link

updated March 8, 2001