Color - So many issues with that one!!! 

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While color is important in photography it appears that it is a chimera that depends on so many factors no one seems to agree upon.

First, our eyes see colors differently.  That is only the start of the problems. Not only our perception of colors varies but it also changes with age and health.  I never really paid attention to this until I had eye surgery.  I was shocked by what I was missing.  Colors were brighter, whites were white and so forth.  How did I know?  Simple:  I had one eye done before the other and I had dual tone vision for two weeks.  The left eye was 'white,' the other was 'off-white', kind of yellowish.

Second, while the camera sensor is accurate, the person capturing an image has his or her preference on 'what is right.' Some like their work cooler, others warmer.  All use a 'white balance' either in auto mode or customized for 'accuracy'.  The auto-white balance reflects what the camera engineers think is right...

Third, when post processing an image all the equipment used from the monitor to the printer needs to be calibrated. Not a difficult task as automated calibration equipment exists and is not all that expensive.

Even if you get one, two and three perfect (Ah!) you have the fourth and fifth issues that will throw all your work to the dogs...

The fourth one is simply that folks who view your work on a monitor are more than likely using a display that is not calibrated, creating luminosity and saturation issues that do not exist, giving the impression that, well, you have no idea what you are doing!!!

The fifth element goes back to human vision as well as preference.  Just when you thought everything was said...

So there you have it, the real low-down on color photography when seen as a color digital image... Make prints and then you are left only with the viewer's taste - assuming you did everything else correctly and that the viewer does not have color perception troubles!!!

(Don't get me started on B&W, different issues, just as bad.)


  • Color space:  Introduction to the color seen by a camera compared to the eyes
  • Color depth:  Introduction to the number of colors potentially captured by a camera
  • Remember: What is really important
Last page update: 04/07/2016

It is not what you know that is important, how you use it is.

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It introduces opinions that are not shared by many but reflect what I think is fair and informative.