What is color temperature all about?
Color temperature can be quantified scientifically using a temperature scale marked in degrees Kelvin. Lighting can vary in ‘color temperature’ between 2000 degrees Kelvin (warm) and 9500 degrees Kelvin (cold).
This derives from the fact that the light emitted by heated objects produces a spectrum which changes as the temperature increases.
Low-temperature lighting is progressively warmer (more red/yellow), while high-temperature lighting grows progressively colder (more blue).
This is what the white balance control on a digital camera is designed to compensate for. You can either leave it set to ‘automatic’ and hope for the best, or choose a manual preset to match the conditions.
Some high-end digital cameras quote white balance values in degrees Kelvin, but most use named presets corresponding to specific conditions, like Daylight, Tungsten and Shade.
Our chart below illustrates the variations in color temperature you might encounter with a range of subjects and shooting situations.
PAGE 1: Awareness of digital color photography
PAGE 2: Warm vs cold color
PAGE 3: The color of natural light
PAGE 4: What are color spaces?
PAGE 5: What is color gamut?
PAGE 6: What is bit depth?
PAGE 7: What is color temperature all about?
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