How to control color in digital photography (I)

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Today I start a series of articles, with which I would like to make the color in the photography simpler. It is time to reflect on the harmony of colors and forget forever, to show photographs in which tone, saturation or luminosity have no connection. This is something that has always been done in fashion photography, but we will focus on other styles, such as travel or reporting.

One of the star talk of the photographers at association meetings or workshops is the decision, which is more difficult: black and white or color? Here at HaticiTECHS we have already written about it on other occasions. I sincerely believe that color is more complicated because of the psychological component that it has and because of the complexity of combining it well.

There are very few photographers who work really well with color. The masters of color can really be counted on the fingers of both hands. Especially the precursors: William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Joel Meyerowitz … then Alex Webb, Ernst Haas and of course two of the photographers who see the color best in the story: José Manuel Navia and Cristóbal Hara

Shooting in color was not well seen in the mid-twentieth century. It only served the world of advertising and family photography. The black and white represented the seriousness and the only truth. Another story is that it was cheaper, faster and easier, but this is another story that is not coming at the moment.

How to control color in digital photography (I)

Color is a demanding discipline that requires a mastery of the technique and a deep knowledge to achieve a purely creative freedom. Then it requires a constant practice, a good memory and perception of the colors and a deep working in front of the computer. In a sense, digital photography allows more freedom when playing with the three properties it has: hue, saturation, and brightness.

The strength of color

We’ve already seen how to use the various editing tools, especially Adobe Photoshop. However, we will always have doubts about which color we need to work with, which one is best combined, or which harmony interests us most to convey one or the other sensation.

The color is mainly processed in fashion photography. In travel photography or in nature or city photography, we try to make everything in terms of color more or less realistic. What we usually forget is that a picture with the blue sky and the green field is the most boring thing we can do when it comes to photography. It is pure truth, but there will always be something missing. I want to find the keys to apply to these specialties.

How to control color in digital photography (I)

Personally, I’ve always thought that a good color image looks black and white. That is, it has only one color with different intensity ranges. But it’s just a way of working, very simple and effective, yes. Color is pure psychology. And the relationship between them can be an explosion of emotions that is second to none.

You just have to see the works of Alex Webb to understand what I’m saying. Color communicates and much. In most cases it is difficult to find the right point of one or the other to find the perfect result. Honestly, I find it hard to believe in psychology and the tendency for everything to be pure statistics. It depends on where we were born, as well as the relationship we have with the colors that I thought the next department is only a starting point and that you never have to take it literally:

  • Yellow : Joy and warmth.
  • Red : Love and strong emotions.
  • Blue : The tranquility and the coldness.
  • Green : Naturalness above all.
  • Purple : The color of the nobility.
  • Rosa : Romanticism and youth.
  • White : The purity, the clean.

They are still a social acceptance that can quickly fall apart. Yellow gave bad luck, white is the opposite in other civilizations … This is one of the reasons why it is not so easy to work with color.

The color in digital photography

Therefore, it is difficult to achieve a good color. That’s why all the possibilities we have with digital photography today are good news. Color is another element of communication, another way to bring the viewer closer to our images. And the tools we have with our cameras and programs are endless in the right hands.

It’s time to work well with the color temperature, with all the levels of adjustment that relate to their values. I want us to finally understand the meaning of RGB or CMYK. And how can everything change?

How to control color in digital photography (I)

But before we start we will see the color wheels, Adobe applications or other companies that can help us to get that photo we dream of take once and for all the final shape. It will not be a simple trip. It will start in the 19th century and it will end where our ability takes us. We will dominate the color.


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