Color photography masterclass: Part 1

(Image credit: Pexels)

Color is second only to light itself when discussing the core elements of photography. The advent of color imaging revolutionized the medium, since the capture of the colors available in the natural world is the aspect which truly sets it apart from any other art form. While black and white images have tremendous narrative properties, color reproduction is the most honest way we have to record the world around us. It goes without saying therefore that, as advanced photographers, it is essential that we understand the best ways of shooting natural hues.

While sometimes color can be interpreted creatively, for dramatic effect, for many subjects there is little scope for misrepresentation of colours, before the image starts to look false and uncomfortable. Portraiture is a perfect example of this - skin tones must be carefully recreated or the person in the image no longer looks human! For most sittings this is far from the ideal effect. Similarly with wildlife and certain landscapes it is critical that colors are exactly reproduced. Fresh natural colors which experience a noticeable hue shift look drab and sickly, which can ruin an otherwise stunning scene. Likewise, when recording animals, it is vital to capture the true colors of their markings, for later identification. 

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