Not Much Color in the Photo? Here's what you can do!

We all know that color brings much more dimension to a photo; an example of this would be a bit of sunlight which could turn a boring scene into a masterpiece, just like a sunny day in the airport.

Woman at the airport

Woman at the airport

But the real world is not so kind to us photographers. Sometimes, we need to make do with the light or time that we have at a certain place because we have to move on to our next destination or business. This feeling was so fresh to me when I first traveled from Brussels Zaaventem International Airport to Malta. I came in the airport expecting a sunny morning. I was inspired by the photo below on dreamstime and was ready to take some photos for the website.

Queue to check in in airport

Queue to check in in airport

When I arrived at the airport early in the morning, the weather was as gloomy as ever. My hope of getting those awesome day shots in the airport literally vanished.

While waiting for my flight I came across an online video by a YouTuber named Serge Ramelli, who offered a great perspective in taking photos in bad / dull weather. His suggestion for these types of weather was to shoot images in Black & White since there is not much color to start with anyway.

Three main techniques he used in Lightroom Software were:

1) Contrast

Since gloomy photos are not known for having a subtle feeling of depth in the photo, an increase on contrast would certainly build the scene and highlight the subjects.

2) Sharpness

Taking out the color component of photos, one can now focus on taking photos at lower ISOs and high shutter speeds making the photo possibly sharper. Building on contrast, sharpness would make the photo "pop."

3) Dodging and Burning

The YouTuber believes that this technique is the reason behind how he got most of his photography projects from. Dodging and burning creates a funnel into which the eyes look. Serge mentions that there is no right or wrong way to do this.

Back in the era of film, this was very difficult to do because of the technical know-how needed to achieve the task -- one would need light a controlled fire in the dark room (place where the photos were developed) and slowly hover this light on film. Nowadays, a photographer can easily influence this by using an exposure brush in Lightroom and subtly paint and angle where he/she thinks would look best. It such an easy thing to do now and I believe that every photographer should do it.

After learning a small lesson from Serge Ramelli, I went out and about and tried to shoot some photos; I liked how this one turned out:

Brussels Zaventem Airport in Belgium: Plane About to Take Off

Brussels Zaventem Airport in Belgium: Plane About to Take Off

--For interesting content about local travel in the north of France, check this article below:


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Photo credits: Dean Eldrick Tan, Pressmaster, Rosshelen.

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October 17, 2020


Well done and yet another great way to think of how each image may best be portrayed.

October 07, 2020


Very beautiful pictures!

October 04, 2020


Thank you, it's very helpful !

October 03, 2020


Excellent and informative advice. I just want to say ”Awesome”. Excellent work. Keep it up. Thanks for sharing.

September 29, 2020


Thanks for this information, I appreciate your useful blog contributions.  

September 29, 2020


Great article and excellent comment from Trl242! Our world has been a bit oversaturated in color, particularly in media. Everyone is trying to grab everyone's attention and the colors can start to weary the brain and tire the eyes. I need a brain spa! 

September 27, 2020


Great advice. I love BW photos. In a world where there is simply too much of everything, it's almost like a spa for your brain when you focus on one. 

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