Color Splash Photos: Tired Cliché or Cool Effect?

Or both?

Mark Ali
Full Frame

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A daffodil with the color of its yellow petals isolated
“Daffodil Close-Up” (© Mark Ali)

Most people don’t like a cliché.

According to Wikipedia (the source of truth for all human knowledge), a cliché is:

…an element of an artistic work, saying, or idea that has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being weird or irritating

There are a lot of clichés in photography — image effects, approaches, and treatments that have been done to death.

I could list some of them, but listing clichés is such a … cliché.

But I’ll bet that if you approach anyone who pays attention to the world of photography and ask them what some of the more overused photo effect clichés are, most will mention a color splash.

A “color splash” photograph, sometimes just called a “selective color” photo, is simply an image that’s been rendered in monochrome (black-and-white), with just one color, or maybe a few colors, retained. When image editing software became easy to use, color splashes appeared everywhere.

Or so it seemed.

And then they became a tired cliché.

But, are they back?

It Really Is a Cool Effect

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Mark Ali
Full Frame

I’m a writer, a photographer, a music lover, and a professional ice sculptor. I’m kidding about that last thing. (View my portfolio at: markaliphotos.com)