Okay, so I promised this like three weeks ago. As many of you may have started to figure out, I’m a lazy blogger. I mean, I always was but now I have enough people following that I get called out for it, ha. Deservedly so 😉
That being said, here I am! Colour time. Yes, C-O-L-O-U-R. Teaching in Korea, this type of thing often starts arguments.
I’m gonna start by getting something out of the way: I don’t post many colour photos but I take more colour photos than black and white. I actually take a lot of colour photos. I take most of them with a camera I rarely talk about. I’m not even sure I consider it a camera, ha. Funny that when I was writing the post about using one camera for a year I didn’t even consider it as part of that. It isn’t a GAS thing, but, more a habit thing. The camera that took the photos from this post is the Contax TVS Digital from 2003. I had the camera for quite a while and rarely post anything from it. It is like my “note taker” haha.
A lot of people use their iPhones for this kind of thing. Weirdly, I consider my iPhone a more serious camera. I mean, I use it for street photography when I don’t have another camera or can’t be bothered to take one out of my bag. The Contax is never that. I use it literally in the exact same situation that most people use their phone. Like the above photo, for example. A cool book, although not mine.
Again, the type of photo that is more of a note. I don’t know why I use this camera like this aside from the fact I always like the flash exposure. I used to use a Contax T2 like this but it felt stupid to pay money to develop the photos. The TVS digital is great for this. It is literally a point and shoot. And feels exactly like a film one.
My workflow starts like this. I put the memory card into this iPhone SD reader. I import the photos off the card and then delete them with the photo app.
Then, I open Snapseed just like I do with black and white photos. The Contax photos already look excellent if I’m being honest. For me, my colour photos are usually just for myself or Facebook or something so I’m just happy to have them. I would be quite happy to use the photos as is but I do put them through Snapseed for the sake of it. They look a little better afterwards.
I sometimes use my other camera in colour as well. One of the things I like most about the Pen-f I have been using is the dial on the front to switch from mono to colour. I don’t use it often but it’s cool that it’s so easy. I use basically tame workflow with the Contax and the Olympus. To be honest though, I prefer the look of the Contax photos in colour, ha.
So, here are the settings I use with colour images. The above is from the Olympus but the settings I use in Snapseed are the same. I start with Details (Sharpening and Clarity for Lightroom users) which I set to 10 and 25 respectively. Plus on both. Again, I don’t really like photos to be too sharp. Both the Lumix 25mm I use on the Olympus and the Zeiss lens on the Contax are really sharp as it is.
The next Layer is the Tune Image or basic curves adjuster. In colour (mostly because the Contax exposes perfectly nearly all the time) I don’t adjust this much. I’ll sometimes use this to bring down the highlights a bit or get some detail back in the shadows. Rarely need to adjust it much though so I just leave it in the preset to remind me that I can adjust it if I need to.
Much like I said the “Noir” was my secret in monochrome in colour, the Grainy Film layer is the same kind of thing. I didn’t shoot much colour film so I can’t say what film this looks like but I always use the X01 preset with the grain set to 20 and the filter strength set to 50% on the Olympus and 20% on the Contax. The grain is basically to wash out the digital noise from the ancient Contax sensor although the noise itself doesn’t look so bad.
So, that is basically my workflow for colour. The photos of fish are all from the Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan. I actually brought the Contax there a couple of weeks ago because I kind of wanted to take some of these note-type photos of the fish in the market.
It is an interesting place and somehow I like the idea of shooting it with a compact camera. One of my favourite photos from Korea was taken here with an old Sony compact (now dead ://). The Contax basically replaced that camera although the Sony was more capable for street photography.
I could never use this workflow with the Sony though because it took those weird Sony cards, ha. I much preferred that camera in black and white anyway.
As always happy to answer any questions. I also have another post coming soon (already written) explaining where I am with the Olympus Pen-f showing some photos from it. My instagram already has some of the photos from the post (@jt_inseoul).