Adding a twist to your photographs


A few months ago one of my co workers wrote a blog about Project 365. Before reading it I had never heard of this project. We decided to start it together, so that we could encourage and support each other with it. There are a few things about Project 365 that are hard, but there are so many more that are rewarding. I am always suggesting it to friends that show an interest in photography, or have just bought a new camera. I am 126 days into it, and I love it. It teaches you so much about yourself as well as your camera. It also lets you discover new styles, as well as find your own.

After taking pictures for 60 days straight I started to get a little bored. That's when I started experimenting with colour. There was a style that I have seen so many people use, but could never figure out how they did it. One morning I finally sought the answer to my questions.

The look I was wanting to achieve, is what they call "Cross Processing". It dates back to the 60's. The effect was discovered independently by many different photographers often by mistake in the days of C-22 and E-4. It is the procedure of deliberately processing photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. The end result is that the photograph appears to have unnatural colors and high contrast. I stared using this technique a few times a week, and discovered that it can work on a huge range of photo's. However I do not shoot film, I shoot digital, so then I had to find a way to do this the modern way. I turned to Adobe Photoshop and a help forum. There I discovered the trick.

You do this using the "Curves" function. You want to make sure you have added contrast to your picture. Then you do the following. Raise the RED and GREEN in the highlights. Then Lower the RED and GREEN in the shadows. Next, you will want to lower the YELLOW in the highlights, and then raise the BLUE in the shadows. The completed action should look like this.

If you don't have Photoshop you can achieve this look in other programs such as "picnik". You want to change the hue to whatever look you are going for, and then reduce the saturation.I was getting to the point where all of my pictures were looking the same, and nothing seemed to be interesting anymore, but with the trick, you can turn an ordinary picture of grass, into something amazing.

So if you just bought a new camera, or you are looking for a challenge, why not try project 365 out. And once you get into it, try out this technique. Just imagine what kind of beautiful pictures you could create.