6 Practical Ways to Unlock the Real Power of Colors in Your Photography
September 2, 2014
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From what looks like an updated Lightstalking site comes this very useful and practical guide to improving your colour photography. I agree with all of it so go and have a look.
1. Shoot Raw
Setting your camera to shoot in raw format is perhaps the first and easiest thing you can do to set yourself on a path toward shooting vibrant colors. Just consider this raw vs. jpeg comparison: The 8-bit jpeg format can contain a maximum of 16 million colors (256 shades each of red, green, and blue), but 12-bit raw files can reproduce 68 billion colors and 14-bit raw files are capable of a staggering 4.3 trillion colors. Hence, it’s only logical to capture as much color data as possible; you will have far more success bringing those colors to life in post processing when working with raw files.
3. Avoid Harsh Light
Harsh lighting, whether natural or artificial, will wash out the vibrance already present in any scene and you won’t be able to do much to restore it in post processing. If you are working outdoors in natural light, try to keep the sun at your back or find some shade. If you are working with flash be sure to diffuse it; there are a variety of ways to accomplish this (reflector, soft box, bounce card, etc.) and it will provide the added benefit of preventing blown-out spots on your subject.
4. Expose for the Situation
Getting a correct exposure doesn’t, in this instance, necessarily mean settling for whatever you camera deems to be a proper exposure. In some cases, such as when shooting the color red, underexposing by a stop or two can actually be a good thing. Blown-out reds are ubiquitous in digital photography; this is not simply a matter of an overall luminance issue, it is a problem specific to one color channel — red. The problem is due, in part, to the fact that the range of red that a digital camera sensor responds to is wider than that perceived by the human eye.
5. Calibrate Your Monitor
Every monitor differs in on how it displays colors. Furthermore, the factory settings are not optimized for the monitor to look its best. Monitor calibration is something that tends to scare people off, but it surely needs to be addressed if color reproduction is important to you. In short, a properly calibrated monitor ensures that the colors you see on the screen are accurately matched to the colors in the image file. In order to get a color-managed workflow up and running, you should invest in a colorimeter. A colorimeter will quickly perform color and brightness calibration.
all images ©Keith Barnes