Color Photography Basics

Basic techniques for color photography

Color Photography

Color photography basics are the most important lesson for beginners.

Color photography basics are some of the first things most photographers learn. For the film photographer, color is one of the most popular mediums. As a result of the popularity of the 35mm camera, there is a huge range of various film brands to choose from. Color film is obtainable in two standards: color negative film, from which prints are produced; and color transparency film (also called reversal film) for slides.

Slow color film Outstanding color rendition, soft contrast and superb resolution of subject detail, like skin texture, are benefits of a slow-speed film. For example, ISO 64 is an ideal option when working with studio flash.

Each specific color film is designed to be exposed under lighting of a specific ‘color temperature’.

Color temperature

Though we have a tendency to speak of light as ‘white’, in fact it contains all of the spectral colors mixed together in certain proportions. The human eye and brain are extremely adaptable, our perception adjusts so we see objects in their ‘true’ colors in most types of lighting. This is not the case with color photography on film.

If, for instance, you loaded the camera with film developed for typical noon daylight (the most widespread film form), and took a picture lit by domestic tungsten bulbs, outcomes would be too orange. This can be since tungsten light has a lower color temperature than daylight, having a preponderance of ‘lower’ orange wavelengths.

Kelvin Color Temperature Scale Chart

Chart of color temperature and photography lighting sources.

Fast film With ISO 1000 film, grain is pronounced and the image is usually incredibly ‘contrasty’. However, such film allows you to take sharp photographs in lighting conditions where hand-held photography would otherwise be impossible. It also lets you take shots with ambient lighting, without flash, helping to preserve the atmosphere. The grain can add a pleasant texture which can suit some subjects. Fine detail, on the other hand, is lost.

With digital cameras, an ‘auto white balance’ feature typically corrects the color temperature. Some models also have manual settings, so the color balance might be tweaked for your liking.

Film speed for color photography

The speed of photographic film is denoted by an ISO value, referring to its light sensitivity. A more sensitive film needs less light to generate a correctly exposed image. Getting the proper speed film in the camera is often one of the most important parts of film photography.

In dim light having a slow (ISO 100) film, even choosing the widest aperture and slowest feasible shutter speed might mean that hand-held color photography is impossible. An ISO 400 film (four times more sensitive) under the very same conditions will offer you the option of picking an aperture two stops smaller (if depth of field is crucial) or perhaps a shutter speed two stops faster (if subject movement or camera shake is an essential factor).

On digital cameras, the sensitivity of the CCD or CMOS sensor can usually be changed for every single shot, if needed. exactly the same ISO scale is typically employed.

Leave a Reply