Wk 7 – Colour Photography

Week 7: Colour Photography
Posted on: Wednesday, 21 October 2015 15:00:00 o’clock EST

Hi all,

Below is a summary of this week’s class.

You can view the presentation here: https://www.zeetings.com/lachlanpayne/9048-0001


Nationality: American

Born: February 24, 1950

Profile: Documentary and editorial photographer whose work has been featured in every major magazine in the world and frequently appears in National Geographic magazine.

Known for: His photograph “Afghan Girl” which originally appeared in National Geographic in June 1985.

Quote: “Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face.”


What is the MotherLode and what do I do with it?

The MotherLode is a bunch of cool camera and lighting gear that students can borrow.

Go to Think Library > Digital Media Design > MotherLode
Identify the items you require as listed on the MotherLode Contract
Email your specific request to camerabookings@think.edu.au as per the format listed on the MotherLode Booking Process PDF
Follow the rest of the instructions as listed on the MotherLode Booking Process PDF

A (very) brief history of colour photography.

In 1851, Levi Hill claimed that he had invented a colour photographic process (eventually called “Hillotypes”). Hill’s work was met with skepticism during his lifetime, then for more than a hundred years after his death histories of photography routinely dismissed it as a complete fraud. Later researchers found that his very difficult process did in fact have a limited ability to reproduce the colours of nature.

James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist (better known for his development of electromagnetic theory) produced the first colour photograph in 1861. The image of a tartan ribbon, by photographer Thomas Sutton (the inventor of the single lens reflex camera), was taken three times through red, green, and blue filters. The three black-and-white images were developed and then projected onto a screen with three different projectors, each equipped with the corresponding red, green, or blue colour filter used to take its image. When brought into alignment, the three images (a black-and-red image, a black-and-green image and a black-and-blue image) formed a full colour image, thus demonstrating the principles of additive colour. This is a complex procedure and the viewing method is not ideal.

The first printed colour photographs were made by Louis Ducos de Hauron in 1868 using three glass plate negatives exposed through red, green, and blue filters (subtractive colour). From these negatives, coloured positives are made by applying complimentary coloured cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes. This is a complex procedure and the exposure times are very long.

The first widespread, successful colour photography process was the autochrome, which was invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiére, patented in 1903 and commercially produced by 1907. An autochrome was a transparency made with sensitised glass plates on to which were placed tiny grains of potato starch dyed red-orange, green, and blue-violet that were randomly placed.


What is colour temperature?

Different light sources, as well as natural light at different times of the day and under different conditions, will have different colours.

These colours vary from warm (red/yellow) to cool (blue).

We refer to these different colours by their colour temperature.

What are some of the different types of light?

Different types of light will produce different coloured light. Common lighting types include tungsten, fluorescent, neon, halogen, sunlight, cloudy and shade.

A candle emits a reddish light, while the midday sun’s rays have a blue tint.

How is colour temperature measured?

The colour temperature of different light sources is measured in degrees Kelvin.

Cool colours, like blue and white, generally have high colour temperatures, over 7000K.

Daylight is around 5500K.

Warmer colours, like red and orange, lie around the 2000K mark.

How do we make sure we get the correct colour in our images?

The human eye is so highly developed that we don’t notice this change (much), however, camera technology (both colour film and digital sensors) are not as advanced.

The key to capturing accurate colour is by using white balance.

What is white balance?

White balance is a setting on your DSLR that determines how accurately the colours in your photos are reproduced.

What white balance settings should I use?

There are three options for you to use:

Auto white balance (AWB)
White balance presets
Much of the time automatic white balance will suffice, but in certain lighting situations, such as shade or mixed lighting, it is preferable to use a white balance preset.

Tell me more about these white balance presets…

Sure. They are:

Choose the white balance setting that best describes the lighting conditions you are shooting in — NOT the colour temperature you want to capture.

Using custom white balance (ideally with a grey card) will give you the most complete control and best results regardless of your lighting.

And some final tips.

In no particular order…

Always remember to shoot RAW
We can tell if light is correct or not by looking at a white surface
Keep an eye on the light, especially if it changes
If you change your WB, remember to change it back!
You can use manual or preset WB for creative effect, but you might be better served leaving your colour correction for Lightroom or Photoshop

Let’s start with the basics:

Set the image quality on your camera to RAW
Change your picture setting to Standard/Neutral (that means colour!)
On your mode dial, select either Aperture priority (A/Av) or Shutter priority (S/Tv), depending on your preference
Locate your white balance settings
Next, get in to groups of 2-3 and capture a series of headshots in the following lighting conditions:

Full sunlight
Mixed lighting (e.g. cafe/library)
Continuous LED lights
For each lighting scenario, use auto white balance plus 1-2 other white balance presets (including the one most appropriate for the lighting conditions!)

Return to class and share your results!


Post your summary of today’s lesson, along with your images, results and thoughts to your blog.

Remember that your commitment to your weekly blog entries forms part of your assessment grades!



Steve McCurry http://stevemccurry.com/

Steve McCurry’s Blog https://stevemccurry.wordpress.com/

Steve McCurry – Magnum Photos Photographer Portfolio http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL535AWZ


The History of Color In Photography http://www.colourlovers.com/blog/2008/04/30/the-history-of-color-in-photography

History of Photography Timeline http://photo.net/history/timeline

TIMELINE OF COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY https://www.bu.edu/prc/GODOWSKY/timeline.htm

History of Photography, Color, pt 1 https://youtu.be/6Ikb6nm-cOA

Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/prokudin-gorsky/


Exploring Photography: White Balance and Color Temperature http://www.lynda.com/Photoshop-tutorials/Exploring-Photography-White-Balance-Color-Temperature/182171-2.html

A Beginner’s Guide to Colour Temperature http://www.lightstalking.com/a-beginners-guide-to-colour-temperature/

White Balance and Color Temperature Crash Course http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/4239/white-balance-color-temperature-crash-course/


Getting the up-close headshot with a telephoto lens http://www.lynda.com/Photography-Cameras-Gear-tutorials/Getting-up-close-headshot-telephoto-lens/182035/191871-4.html

How to Take Perfect Headshots: Six Tips http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-take-the-perfect-headshot-six-tips/

10 awesome tips for headshot photography from Peter Hurley http://www.photoguides.net/10-awesome-tips-for-headshot-photography-from-peter-hurley

HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/headshot-photography-tips/

Setting Up a Successful Headshot Session: Part 1 https://fstoppers.com/business/setting-successful-headshot-session-part-1-50756

Setting Up a Successful Headshot Session: Part 2 https://fstoppers.com/business/setting-successful-headshot-session-part-2-52778


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