This week begins our focus on using a pop of color in color theory! A pop of color is generally when most of the image is a neutral color, and the subject you want your viewer to focus on, is a bright color, making it pop against the background. Jamie Eilts is very good at using pops of color in her work, and we have a little Q&A session to share with you today, to get a peek inside her process!
Q: How often do you look for colors when shooting?
A: I just love the colors that we find in our everyday lives…in our clothing, in our architecture, in ourselves, in nature…there are beautiful colors everywhere! I look for colors very often when shooting. I’d say color is the second thing my eyes are drawn to, second only to light. If I know what my subject is wearing, I will definitely pay attention to complementary colors that would work well with their clothing.
Q: What is the first thing you look for, your subject or your background?
A: This is a tough question, but I’d probably have to say my background. I think when arriving on the scene, the first thing I tend to do is look at the environment around me, specifically the light, followed by the colors. I will notice what background will make my subject stand out or “pop”, and I will try to situate myself so that I can shoot with that background in mind.
Q: Do you set your shots up in any way, shoot on the fly, or get in a specific place and wait for the perfect moment to press your shutter?
A: I think I do a combination of both, depending on the situation. There are certainly moments, especially when working with young children (which is what I do most), that you simply do not have the time or ability to set up a shot before the moment has passed you by. That being said, I do feel like I do a lot of anticipating my shots. For example, if I am going somewhere with my kids, let’s say to the pumpkin patch, I know my kids well enough that I can anticipate some of the things they will do there such as climbing a hay bale or carrying a pumpkin or riding in the wheelbarrow. So, I will keep my eyes open for these moments as they carry out before me and try to prepare myself to capture the shot with the light and composition I had in my mind. Specifically regarding color, I do pay attention to what my subject is wearing and keep in mind certain locations/backgrounds that would be complementary to their colors.
Q: How do you capture the perspective that you do? (Standing, kneeling, down to the ground, all of them, etc.)
A: I love changing up my perspective, and I do it often. I think perspective really helps tell the story. I will shoot from above holding my camera over my head, lying on the ground, standing, kneeling, sitting, you name it! I’ve been known to climb ladders and shoot with my camera hanging out a window. Anything for the shot, right? Ha, just kidding. Kinda.:)
Q: What do you look for in terms of lighting when making an image with the colors you desire?
A: There are certain types of light that I look for depending on the color. For example, I don’t always love what backlight does to the color yellow…which is of significance to me because yellow is my favorite color. I like my yellows to read a little more mustard and sometimes backlight can be tricky with yellow and makes it hard to recover in post. One thing that I’m always looking for, though, is pockets of light. If I see a good pocket of light, I will wait for my subject to enter that pocket before taking my shot because the light will make those colors that much more vibrant. I am not one, however, to avoid a shot because ideal. That’s just not my style.
Q: If you could go back in time and tell yourself some tricks for mastering this faster, what would you say?
A: I think the biggest part of this is being observant and knowing what to look for in the environment. If I could go back in time, I’d probably just tell myself to study color theory and the color wheel a bit, spend some time just looking around at our beautiful world and notice which colors pop, why they pop, and which colors work well together.
Q: How important is editing in your process?
A: Editing is very important in my process. I consider myself to be an artist and sometimes photographs need a little bit of work to do the moment/environment/situation justice or to make it tell the story as it played out in front of me. Also, specifically regarding color, I will tweak my colors so that they pop by playing with the HSL panel, brushes, radial filters, etc. in Lightroom or working on selective color in Photoshop.
Q: What gear and equipment do you use for accomplishing this?
A: I shoot with a Canon 6D. My favorite lenses are my Sigma Art 35mm/1.4, Canon 85mm/1.4, and Canon 70-200/2.8. I edit in Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop CC.
Q: What are your typical settings?
I shoot most often with my 35mm and 85mm lenses, and I tend to shoot around 1/250s, f/2.0-2.8. If my children are moving around a lot, I will most definitely adjust my shutter accordingly. When I’m using my 70-200mm lens, I shoot almost exclusively at f/2.8.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: My biggest inspirations are my three children and the sweet, innocent moments of their childhood. I also find inspiration in light and nature. There is so much beauty in our world if you look for it!
Q: What do you do when you get bored of shooting the same things?
A: Funny you ask this because I recently went through this very thing. Winter in Illinois can be pretty long and brutal, and I was growing so tired of shooting inside my home. So, when I feel myself getting to this point, I always try to do something new or out of my comfort zone. In this instance, I brought my camera with us on a trip to Target. I loved the lines and patterns that you can find in new places. I’ve also been playing around with different shutter speeds, specifically long exposures which is new for me.
Q: What is something you’d like to learn in the future?
A: I have been reading a lot about astrophotography and plan to play around with that at some point this year. My husband and I are also looking into getting a drone, which I think would be lots of fun…especially when we travel!
Q: Do you have any personal projects you are working on right now and would like to
A: I am currently participating in the p52clicks 52-week photography project for 2018. I also recently took part in a Traveling Dress project which was so much fun. However, I’d say the biggest new project that I’ve taken on is learning video/film. I’ve only done a handful of videos so far, and I am LOVING it, but I definitely know I have a lot of room to improve and need to figure out what style of film speaks to me most. Definitely looking for some next level courses to improve with video. But for now, practice, practice, practice.:)
Jamie is a lifestyle and documentary photographer and filmmaker who lives in central Illinois with her husband and three young children. Her passion is telling the sweet, simple stories of childhood as they play out in everyday life. Her style is colorful, playful, and authentic storytelling. Jamie is a ClickPro at ClickinMoms and a contributing artist for Offset and Cavan Images. When not taking pictures or shooting video, she enjoys traveling, exercising, and Diet Coke.:) Follow Jamie on Instagram here.