Five Day Photo Challenge: Day 4

Author's Note: This post originally appeared on the Unique Photo Blog.

Surfer, South Africa. Photograph by Anne du Plessis, My Shot (via National Geographic)

Today’s Challenge: Focus on Tone

Let me make this very clear: Tone is one of the most important factors of your photos. It could make your wedding photos look beautiful and angelic or dark and ominous. Granted, tone is one more creative outlet that will vary between every single photographer, but that’s the fun part! And therein lies today’s challenge. Now, for the rules:

  1. No preset filters. If it has a name in Photoshop, it’s not allowed. Ixnay Instagram, and sorry, Sepia-buffs
  2. Please be tasteful. Don’t make your image so muddy it can’t be recognized
  3. See Rule 1

For those of you that don’t have post-processing programs like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or anything in the Nik Software Suite, don’t fret! There are plenty of ways to change the tone of your images without buying software just for this challenge (although I’d highly suggest either of the aforementioned tools — they’re SO necessary). One solution would be Aviary, the mobile-and-web editing suite that’s now integrated into Flickr. Yes, their filters have names (therefore going against the rules), but to keep this an honest contest, it’s allowed if necessary. Another choice would be to create these effects in-camera! Wait — Don’t start playing with your scene presents. In fact, I think Michael Downey (the Head Instructor at Unique University would have a conniption). No, use your environment to your advantage. Light is an extremely powerful tool to employ in your images. A single spotlight may create drama, whereas an entire rack of stage lights ads color and mood to an image. Play with what’s available to you.

Now it’s your turn! Convey a mood using tone in your images! Remember to be safe, have fun, and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do! Post your results in the comments below.