Designers need a variety of photo versions to work with. Or rather, I need to give them different photo versions as options. A designer is never going to come to you and say, "I like that image but could you show it to me in black and white or create a version to go with a different color scheme?" They might if they know you're capable of it. It's our job as the artist to give them different photo versions to work with.
For interior designers looking for wall art, color and impact is actually more important than the subject of the image. Keeping up with color trends from year to year can be exhausting to say the least. I have come back to this Psychology of Color for Interior Designers article several times when considering how I want to edit an image.
Start with a baseline image that you edit naturally
My first approach is to do a general edit which means cleaning dust spots, color, saturation, vibrance, whites and blacks. This was the establishing shot from the road that got my attention. It's good for an editorial or documentary image but not much else. This spot would be really cool to go to during rainy season when this valley floods. Timing that trip would be just pure luck though unless you live somewhere in southern Morocco.
Is a black and white version always best?
The Argan Tree in these next frames is the same tree with a tighter composition. The image I had in mind for an art print was with the tree filling a good portion of the frame. My guide for the day in Fes Morocco made a point to tell me, "Make your photos black and white and very large. You will sell many I tell you my friend."
He's not wrong, but the black and white version is just ok in my opinion. This is my default starting point for art edits. Black and white photos go with any decor so you can't go wrong with a black and white.
I've had success and requests lately for a certain toning effect that I like to do. It's not quite sepia; more of a "coffee" toned look I guess you'd call it. This is my neutral palette look that I think has a bit more luxe feel than a standard black and white.
Make some creative choices with your photo editing
And finally on this particular image I went a little nuts and worked on finding a bold color. I despise hotel art that is basically just a frame filled with a few splashes of color but no actual subject. Abstract art they call it. More like mass produced randomly generated splotches of color made as inexpensively as possible. But I digress.
This is the final option I settled on. It doesn't do any good to tell a designer that you can edit a photo ten different ways. Show them, and you're the artist so just make a choice. It took me all of twenty minutes per edit to try different cross toning effects and get the gradients I was happy with. Play with color and photo versions when you're editing. I play with ideas like this because I like having lots of editing tools at my disposal.
Relevance For Travel Photography?
This post is a bit different from what you'll see most travel photographers talk about. Capturing the photos is half the fun and that's why we take the trips in the first place. Understanding how you might use your photos after returning home is a major question I hear from people who have traveled for a photography workshop or tour. Consider this as food for thought before you take that next epic photography vacation.