how to use Nikon D5100 selective color

Short description of selective color:
Selective color is a process used widely in photography after the original shot or picture has been taken. This technique entails converting selected parts of a photograph to black and white but leaving out some parts in color. Thus we get patches of color in a field of black and white. This effect is usually achieved by using editing techniques such as masking or layering in photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fireworks etc.

A very common usage of this particular technique is its application in portraiture. The application of the technique results in the being able to keep the eyes or maybe the photo’s subject’s lips in color. This gives a very beautiful effect which is not only very attractive due to the presence of a singular color amongst an otherwise monochrome background, but also provides emphasis on that particular part where the color is allowed to remain.
Landscape photography can also wield this technique in various ways. For example, a photo of a tree against the sky, where only the leaves or the sky behind is in color while the rest is in black and white will be a sight to the eyes. The application of this technique in this particular manner literally rejuvenates the photo all over again, like a rebirth. However, photographers can use this technique in any genre of photography, be it night photography, still life etc. But yes, portrait and landscapes are the most obvious, almost natural choices for the application of this method so as to make it the most effective. They are also the types that get the taste of this selective color the most.
Films also use this method by converting whole videos to black and white leaving only a small part of the video in color. The result is visionary as is seen in films like Schindler’s List and Frank Miller’s Sin City.
How to use Nikon D5100 selective color:

On the Nikon D5100, we can use the option that is already supplied for selective color and use it to click photos in this particular mode.

In order to do that, we must first rotate the mode dial on the top right of the camera body and turn it to live view option. This will raise the mirror and enable the user to get the view of the photo as it will be taken through the lens of the camera. When one has done this, the user will have to press the OK button to open up the selective color menu. A white box will appear on the screen. This box will have to be used to select the part that the user is desirous to make it retain its color. After doing this, press the upper arrow key on the OK button and select the color that will be retained. It is advisable to select a saturated color instead of an unsaturated one as an unsaturated color poses difficulties for the camera lens to detect. To select a color with more precision one can use the zoom in key to zoom into the picture. When you have selected the specific part, just press the zoom out key to zoom out again.
After this you got to select the range of the hue that will be retained. Experts suggest the selection of a range between 1 and 7 to prevent the detection of other hues. You can also choose to retain multiple colors; you just have to select the color and the hue for a second time.
After all these steps, you are set. Exit the live view mode by rotating the mode button. The selected settings will continue to apply to the photo that you click.

8 thoughts on “how to use Nikon D5100 selective color

  1. How do you return the photo to its original format after you have shot a picture with this effect? I took some pictures that are of importance without realizing I left it on this effect and I am wondering if I can fix it??


    • it may be because the format of the files are not supported by the camera..
      anyway – this tutorial explain how to take photos with selective color, not how to turn existing to…
      recommend you’ll look in the web for application to do that.


    • Hi, just select the photo you want in the playback mode. Then press the OK button. Then select selective colour from the menu. Once you have made the changes you want and you save, it will save as a completely new file keeping your original. Hope this helps.

  3. I can’t get it to work, tried it 7 times no luck, either a complete Black and White image, or ordinary colour image

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