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Pop of Color

This assignment ran from Apr 16 to May 7, 2018.

Editor's Note: I strongly encourage you to submit new photographs. Images that have been published in past stories will not be able to be published in more than one final story. 

Color is all around us, but how much do we notice? In American suburban neighborhoods, you rarely see a bright purple house. But in Havana, for example, color is everywhere.

For this assignment, I want you to actively look for color and think how it can be effective in a photograph. Experiment, explore, and use color to tell us a story about the place you are photographing.

Here is an image I took in Cuba, keeping it wide so that the women’s shirts really “popped” against the gray buildings. Here are some more examples of pops of color from other Your Shot photographers: you can try a landscape, portrait, wildlife, or a cityscape!

I only have two hard rules to further challenge you. No selective color—that’s when an image is in black and white with only one color left visible. I also don’t want to see super saturated colors that aren’t truthful to the original situation! Instead, be searching for the color in your everyday life that you may otherwise overlook.

Finally, experiment and have fun! Fill your frame with nothing but color. Find a single color surrounded by neutrals. Play with multiple colors in a frame. Make portraits incorporating color. The possibilities are endless!

Color really is everywhere—you just might be surprised at what you see when you start looking a little harder!

Curated by:

Kristen McNicholas
Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published May 23, 2018.
Thank you for your contributions!

New Your Shot Assignment: "Not Just A Face"

Posted jul 2, 2018

Hey folks -

In case you missed it, National Geographic photographer Maggie Steber is currently curating a Your Shot assignment called "Not Just A Face.” I hope you all consider participating!

Kristen McNicholas
Associate Photo Editor, Your Shot

Open for 4th Submission!

Posted may 6, 2018

I hope you are all excited to submit your 4th submission! Thank you to those in the discussion board who alleviated any confusion about when 4th submissions were opening up. The gates are open!

Good luck and stay tuned for the story!


Opening for 4th Submission and Photos of the Week Post

Posted may 4, 2018

Holy moly! You all crushed my challenge to share 10 favorite submissions with feedback to get a 4th submission for this assignment! Thanks to those who took a few moments to leave detailed comments and feedback for other community members. Extra special thanks to those who also left the feedback on the photo itself so it can always live with the photo! This seemed a little easy so maybe next time we'll make it a little harder for you all, ha! 

Since you went above and beyond 10 replies, I will be opening the 4th submission in the final 24 hours that the assignment is open. This will give you a couple days to think about exactly what you want your final submission to be and allow you some time to get feedback from your community. 

I also encourage you all to check out the Photos of the Week blog series! It’s a fairly new series we have been doing but it is a weekly edit of my favorite 10 photos from the past week. It will be shared each Friday so be sure to check it out! I love putting the blog post together to share with you all. Check out the photographers and feel free to leave some feedback for them on their photos, too! Our community is so full of diverse photography and we all have something to learn from each other.

Keep up the good work, and good luck in the final weekend of the Pop of Color assignment. It’s been an absolute blast (of color) editing through the submissions. I’m so excited the share the final story with you all! 


Fourth Submission Challenge

Posted may 3, 2018

Hi everyone! 

Read my latest featured comment on the discussion board for a challenge I'm posing to you all to get a fourth submission. Are you up for it? 

I'm excited to see what you all have to share. Good luck!

Editor's Update #03

Posted may 2, 2018

Hello everyone! As we are closing in on the final stretch of the Pop of Color assignment I want to mention a few things. 

First, wow, over 10,000 submissions?? I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout for my first assignment with the Your Shot community and I am so proud! Your creativity and eye for color showed brilliantly through your submissions. Some of you found situations where one color took over the entire frame, some found unimaginable colorful situations and some stuck to a classic interpretation finding one color in a neutral setting. I am experiencing pure and simply joy seeing all of this color! 

Second, I noticed some really creative use of negative space in quite a few submissions to achieve a “pop” of color. When I first started this assignment, I knew creative compositions would be key to some “pops” but hadn’t considered the use of dark or light negative spaces filling the frame. I love that as the assignment went on I started to think differently about what creates a pop, so thank you all for making that happen!

Third, I want to highlight a couple of other things going on around the community. May is National Pet Month so we are running the #WeLoveOurPets hashtag we invite you all to participate in! Our Senior Producer, Matt Adams, also just opened up his Places We Love assignment that will showcase the places our community loves all around the world. Last but not least, our Underwater Beauty story just published today, as well so be sure to check them all out! 

Stay tuned for more fun upcoming assignments!

Cheers, and well done, everyone. I can’t wait to curate the final story to and share with you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you for participating! 

Kristen McNicholas

Mailbag Blog Post Announcement

Posted apr 30, 2018

Hi all! I am loving what I am seeing in the assignment's submissions and I'm excited for the final week. 

I wanted to let you all know that today we published our Mailbag blog series answering the questions you submitted a couple of weeks ago! You can find it at the link below. We're excited about this blog series! We will be opening up for more questions starting May 7, 2018. 

Editor's Update #01

Posted apr 26, 2018

Wow, you all have awash me with color! I’m impressed by the beautiful color I’m seeing left and right, as well as the conversations I’m reading in the discussion board. Thank you for reading the introduction so carefully and helping your fellow members select their submissions while leaving thoughtful, constructive feedback.

Now, let’s talk about some technical aspects to look for when you are making and selecting photographs. Exposure and composition are crucial for a strong photo, especially with an assignment focusing on color. If your exposure is a little dark, the color won’t “pop.” Sure, you can always brighten up the image in your editing software, but getting it right in camera will help you in the long run, and will help you practice making strong photos.

Composing a photograph can be overwhelming because your eye has countless ways of seeing a photo come together. To start, before you click your shutter, inspect the edges of your frame to see if there is anything sticking in or out—or even through—your subject. Did you take a full body portrait, but cut off part of the character’s foot with your frame? Is there a pole growing out of a person because of where you are standing? Is there something distracting poking into your photograph? In many cases, these are fixed simply by adjusting where you’re standing or how you point your camera.

That said, rules are meant to be broken—but the key is to be intentional with your technical choices. You must be in control of your camera; don’t let the camera be in charge of you.

Finally, if you go to the discussion board for feedback I would recommend waiting to read the feedback before you officially submit. This way you can submit your strongest photographs and get the full experience of the Your Shot community.

Keep up the good work, everyone! I am so impressed. This is the first assignment I’ve run since joining the Your Shot team and it’s been such a warm, exciting experience. I’m really appreciative of your patience while I work through the pictures, the discussion board, and overall, getting the hang of it!
Kristen McNicholas

Kristen McNicholas

Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot
Kristen is an Associate Photo Editor with the Your Shot team. She interned at the White House Photo Office under the Obama Administration as well as Education Week. A proud RIT alumna, dessert enthusiast and Finger Lakes, NY native, Kristen is excited to guide your photographic journey!