Sunday, 27 October 2013

Yellow Colour Swatches

Splashes of Yellow

I recently did the completed a Surface Pattern Design Course by Rachel Taylor. One of our exercises was to place random objects, that we found around the house, together in colour combinations. I found myself looking at objects in a totally new light. Exploring colour in 3-D was wonderful and tactile! There is so much more variety in subtle tones within a 3-D object than in a flat colour sample. I also found myself making colour combinations that I may not normally have chosen. I found fresh new colour inspiration, which can be used in artworks or pattern design. 

I rapidly became addicted to the exercise! It is just so much fun!

Here are a couple of swatches for you, that feature different tones of yellow! 


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Photographing YELLOW - 3 Tips

Are your lemons  turning into oranges? Or are they turning into creamy cheesecake?   Where's the ZING gone? You can see it, but your camera just won't!

Frustrating, right? I know, so I've played around with some settings to help you. Whether you're trying to create a beautiful image, or whether you're trying to capture your beautiful creation, artwork, product, design -  Here are 3 tips to get the best yellow out of your yellow.

1. Choose a neutral light.

Although most cameras have settings to neutralise yellow light (from tungsten light bulbs) these capabilities are limited. So don't put the poor camera or yourself under unnecessary pressure. Switch off the lights and wait for daylight - Not very early in the morning (generally blue light) and not very late in the afternoon (warm yellow light), somewhere inbetween.  

When photographing outside the light looks neutral to our eyes, but the camera is not as sophisticated as our eyes. Many cameras have automatic settings here, but if your yellow is not clear yellow the automatic setting may be confused. Manually setting the right White Balance (WB) could take out the bluey light and put that clean zing back into your lemon.

Here are some colour casts to consider:

  • shady light is bluey - your yellow will go green! 
  • overcast light is less bluey - your yellow could still be murky
  • sunlight is white light - pretty yellow! But directly it could be too strong and wash out the colour.

2. Indirect Light 

Bad weather? Daylight means daytime, not sunlight. In fact photographing in direct sunlight is NOT what you want to do. The extremes of dark shadows and bright highlights are just too strong for a camera to handle. Yellow doesn't seem to have such a good range of lights and darks either. From pale blue to deep dark blue, blue generally looks good, but yellow is a little less photogenic. Your range of yellow tones is more limited, so often dark yellow just doesn't seem yellow anymore.

Look at my example of the yellowy leaves below:

I would say rather stay in the shade, under an overcast sky or go indoors, when photographing yellow. Yellow shows up better in soft light. A window is generally a wonderful source of natural neutral light. Choose a time of day when the sun isn't shining directly in through the window, but there's enough soft light glowing into the room. Place your yellow near the window and experiment with the direction you want to shoot from. If you then balance a piece of white card next to your yellow, it can act like a mirror, bouncing a little more light into those murky shadows. Have a look at my melon below:

3. Picture Style

Manually choosing the Picture Style could really make all the difference in the intensity of your yellow. If you're up to fiddling, see whether your camera has a setting called Picture Style. One of the numbers in the Picture Style is the Saturation of your colours. This is how bright or intense your colours are.

  • The Landscape Picture Style has a high saturation and will exaggerate your colours slightly and make your yellow pop out bright. 
  • Portrait has a lower saturation, so that skin colours don't end up looking orange. 
  • Neutral has the lowest saturation and may even make your yellow look dull. 

Sometimes if your saturation is too high, your yellows end up looking orangey. The best thing to do is fiddle around with these settings until you find just the right amount of yellow for your picture.

There you have your 3 Tips. I hope they're clear enough and not too technical. Out you go - try them. See whether it makes a difference. If you have any questions post them in the comments below and I'll try and help. Do you have any more tips? What have you experienced when photographing yellow?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


So how are your yellow ideas developing? Is it jumping out at you everywhere too? I've been driving around and seeing road workers in yellow raincoats, yellow warning lights, yellow road signs, yellow buses, I almost caused an accident, while peering at the yellow plants outside a nursery and I found myself eyeing a mustard yellow jacket at a clothing store.

What is it about YELLOW that makes it so strong and vibrant? I recently did a course on Surface Pattern Design. There they had an interview with Louise Gale, a colour enthusiast. I enjoyed hearing her views on how colour can physically give you different energy, because colour is literally made up of waves of energy.  She suggests that when we choose something to wear - because we "feel like it" - we sometimes choose the colour according to the energy we need, that day.

On her webpage on Creative Colour Energy Workshops she gives us a sneak peak into her colour journal. I love the way she's taken scraps of colour inspiration and stuck it all together. Have a look - it might give you ideas on how to store inspiration, too.

In the meantime, I just had to take my little yellow sketch further and after the course I did recently, these images emerged:

So what does yellow mean to you? How much yellow have you been seeing? I think I should buy that yellow jacket...

Soon to come - yellow colour swatches, photographing yellow and some yellow bits and pieces from you

Monday, 14 October 2013


I've been struggling to find the appropriate way to get started. As one often does. So standing with my cup of coffee in hand, I saw my answer through the kitchen window: YELLOW!

Yellow postman's bike under yellow tree with yellow leaves scattered on the ground! Where's the camera?!!! No camera, so I did a little sketch for you.

A random way to start? Yes! But if one remembers that the inspiration doesn't have to be "perfect", you'll find it all around you. It's allowed be random.


Sounds like a good place to start.

October seems to be a yellow month in this part of Germany and since I decided on yellow inspiration I see it everywhere around me. It's such a vibrant colour that the idea of creating with it, is exciting and fun!

Come on, join me! You know you're going to see it everywhere now. It's irresistible!

Find yellow - Pause - Soak it up - Get Creating - Go Play!

I'd love to hear about what you come up with! Tell me about it - add your comments below.
Soon to come: my yellow creations ; practical tips when photographing yellow


A couple of years ago I reached a point where I was too nervous to create, in case it wouldn't be good enough. I just stopped. In case everyone else's expectations of me would be let down. After all, I have a Fine Art Degree in Photography, so I must be good, right??? The ideas just weren't good enough, the weather wasn't right. Oh dear, I just didn't have the time. Know that feeling?

Then I saw the work of photographers that I didn't think was that great. Yet they were photographing. They had their own websites, they were selling their work & THEY could call themselves photographers. If I wasn't producing work, could I still call myself a photographer?

I reminded myself: It's not the degree, diploma or quality of work that makes you a photographer, designer, artist or creative person. It's whether you're producing anything at all. Because creative people follow their deep inner urge to create. It's just what we do and it's only when we're creating that we can improve and grow and become what we're meant to become.

So this blog hopes to encourage you and me to pause  our busy lives, take a breath, look around, find inspiration and then create and create and JUST KEEP CREATING...

Sunday, 13 October 2013


   unwrapping your visual inspiration soon....


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Soon to come - a blog about images

finding them, taking them, making them