UN­DER­STAND LIGHT AND COLOUR

Whether you’re out in na­ture or in a stu­dio en­vi­ron­ment, the light qual­ity also af­fects hues

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Light and colour are in­trin­si­cally linked, and to get the re­sults you de­sire it’s vi­tal to un­der­stand how one im­pacts the other. In a stu­dio or in­door en­vi­ron­ment, you can con­trol the ar­ti­fi­cial lights and mod­i­fiers you use. When shoot­ing nat­u­ral scenes too how­ever, you can con­trol how colour is ren­dered by plac­ing your­self in a par­tic­u­lar light­ing sce­nario – whether that means shoot­ing at a par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion, in cer­tain weather or at a spe­cific time of year or day.

In clear con­di­tions, dur­ing the early and late golden hours when the sun is close to the hori­zon, sun­light bathes ev­ery­thing in a deep or­ange and cre­ates a warm cast. Fur­ther into the golden hour, colours start to be­come more dis­tinct, vivid and vi­brant. Af­ter sun­rise, once the sun has cleared the hori­zon, it has a white and neu­tral coloura­tion that makes it good for cap­tur­ing sub­jects like flow­ers ac­cu­rately. Mov­ing to the mid­dle of a clear day, bright sun­light has a bleach­ing ef­fect that causes hues to look rel­a­tively dull.

At twi­light, colours are also fairly dull, but still dis­tinct. Then, to­wards to­tal dark­ness, colours be­come al­most non-ex­is­tent, or take on a grey­ish-blue tinge.

Af­ter time of day, you’ll need to con­sider the weather con­di­tions. On a very cloudy day or in strong shade, images take on a grey, dull tinge. On a foggy day, the fur­ther away you are from the sub­ject and the thicker the fog, the more the orig­i­nal colours are lost.

Ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing is a tricky topic to cover, as there are a myr­iad of sit­u­a­tions you might be pre­sented with. The ef­fect depends on the light source’s dis­tance, as well as its di­rec­tion in re­la­tion to what you’re pho­tograph­ing. As a gen­eral rule, colours that are closer to a light source ap­pear brighter and bolder, whereas those fur­ther away get duller.

When your scene is lit by many dif­fer­ent lights (all with vary­ing tem­per­a­tures), it’s best to set your white bal­ance to Auto mode. One way to con­trol the colour of light – both in­doors and out­side – is by us­ing mod­i­fiers. For ex­am­ple, re­flec­tors can come with neu­tral or gold coat­ings, or gels can be added to flash guns to in­tro­duce vi­brant hues.

© HE­S­HAM AL­HU­MAID

Above

SE­LEC­TIVE COLOURS the bright pink hue is what draws our eye into this im­age. here he­s­ham Al­hu­maid ex­posed this im­age to en­sure the pink was recorded ac­cu­rately

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