Understanding the colours of five light sources in photography
- Oct 23, 2019
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Each light source has a color. Although we may not recognize it at first sight, its influence on the atmosphere and emotion of the light environment is very subtle. Even if the light our eyes see is white, it is clearly visible in photographs, and sometimes it can form very strong color distortion. By digital white balance, you can always take into account the color of light when shooting, make it in line with the color of the image or facilitate its correction afterwards.
Light source color
I. Natural Light
The color of sunlight varies many times throughout the day: in the morning it is blue, at sunrise it becomes orange, and then it becomes hot red. Near noon, the light tends to get closer to blue and white; at sunset, it transits from deep red to deep yellow through orange; at sunset, it turns dark blue again, and then disappears into dusk. According to different phases of the moon, the night is sometimes covered with pale moonlight, sometimes with darkness - which is very rare in cities, because a variety of artificial light sources will illuminate the dark night sky.
During different periods of the day, photographs will contain different colors and emotional depths: the so-called "blue time" blue light will make the photo dark, cold, mysterious and inaccessible; the orange light at sunrise and sunset will change the color of the image, making it a warm, hot, warm and melting effect. The pictures taken at noon are very full-coloured - very bright in summer and somewhat dark and pale in winter.
If you want to shoot in sunlight, besides the time factor, you should also consider the surrounding environment of the subject, because the environment can affect or reflect sunlight, so that the color of the subject changes. Therefore, the sunlight passing through the leaves will have a green color, and the light reflected through the colored walls will have a wall color, which will make the theme dyed the same color. Even small color changes can play a role in the viewer's subconscious, thus affecting the overall effect of the image.
It is impossible to answer the question of what colours the sun has, as shown in the pictures above. Sunlight has a very rich color, as a source of light for photography, it will never make people feel monotonous.
Photographing in the Green Shade
Shooting in front of a yellow wall
& nbsp; the above two pictures were taken only a few minutes apart, showing us how the environment changed the sunlight: the top picture was taken in the green shade, and the bottom picture was taken in front of the Yellow wall.
II. Artificial Light Source
Photo viewers often use light colors to identify whether the light in a photo is artificial or natural. Of course, artificial light can also be naturalized through color filters or white balance, but experienced people will immediately recognize the use of artificial light sources when taking photographs. Because these artificial persistent light sources have their common colors: incandescent lamps emit red light, energy-saving lamps emit white light, in addition to some artificial light will emit light yellow or reddish light. The light emitted by neon tubes is mostly green, sometimes blue or yellow. Light-emitting diode lamps (LED lights) and halogen lamps emit blue light, while building floodlights emit dark red light.
The viewer's impression of the light color in the image depends largely on the theme of the image. For example, the subject dyed red is more likely to evoke sunset. However, the same light effect in a closed space can evoke light bulbs or candles.
In principle, it's about letting the viewer see what he can recognize in the photograph, but as a photographer, you can do more to make the viewer more convinced, misleading or misleading. You are free to shoot with different light sources, for example, regardless of the actual situation at the time of shooting, you can make the final picture look like it was taken in sunlight. Or you prefer to use artificial light sources more often when shooting, because this avoids the association of photographs with natural light, when you can use strong colored light, such as green or blue light.
Artificial light also has rich colors.
Artificial light also has rich colors. However, these colors are usually associated with photography only at the beginning and end of the day, because intentional artificial light photography often requires us to find or arrange a large number of light with the same color.
3. Flash lamp
Among the light sources available to photographers, flash has a very special role, because it is a very important artificial light source - either in the form of portable, flexible and mobile flash or in the form of studio flash devices, which can ensure maximum light power when indoor shooting.
Flash light is white, very bright and directional, it will not produce continuous lighting, which has fully explained the advantages and disadvantages of flash: first, white light can achieve a coordinated, realistic color reproduction; second, through plastic equipment can achieve a certain quality of light, through the filter also. It can change its color; thirdly, the flash can provide high power light; fourthly, the flash has a very short luminous time. Therefore, the composition effect of flash is always determined in the final image. The process of using flash in the studio can be simplified by using continuous illumination modelling light. The modelling light will turn off automatically at the moment before the real flash is triggered.
Because the flash decreases with the square of the distance, it is mainly suitable for shooting close-range subjects, and when only one image layer in the subject is illuminated, the image will quickly form a planarized effect - the image of the front and back image elements will be too bright or too dark. In order to minimize the plane impression of a photograph, you can use multiple flash lights to flash in parallel, or (best) use the flash flexibly from the side.
Flash is mainly suitable for shooting close-range subjects.
If you think that flash is only the built-in flash of portable cameras, and you assume that they don't work well for very dark subjects, you underestimate the immeasurable space in the composition of the light source: whether you use plastic lighting devices in the studio to control the light of the flash at will. Or use a filter to change the color of the flash outdoors or on the road, or use it directly without change. Flash can direct almost all light effects, and it can simulate every light source.
The flash will decrease with the square of the distance.
The flash decreases with the square of the distance, which means that when the distance between the subject and the flash doubles, the camera receives a quarter of the original flash. Of the two people in the sketch, only the front one is exposed accurately (left). In order to change this situation, either use off-line flash to move the flash so that they are on the same plane (in the middle), or use two flash lights to illuminate each person appropriately (right).
IV. White Balance
Don't forget to adjust the camera's white balance according to the light source you choose. White balance defines white according to fixed parameters and describes other colors according to white orientation. The process is separate for each photo as needed. Generally, there are some white balance options based on common light sources. Although automatic white balance is available in many cases, we still have to use it carefully according to different subjects when shooting, because in most cases the brightest area in the image will be defined as white, even if it has other colors. In any case, when using manual white balance, in order to be accurate, we should take into account the subtle color fluctuation of the light source itself when selecting a light source as a reference object. Only then can a truly white object be defined as white.
Generally speaking, the goal of white balance is to achieve natural tones, and it is undoubtedly a more creative application to choose the wrong white balance or adjust the color temperature in image editing program until you get a satisfactory result. By changing the color temperature, the color of the entire image will change - either very artificial, very artistic, or to convince the viewer that the photograph was taken in this light environment.
White balance contrast
The white balance of incandescent lamp (left) is quite different from that of sunlight (middle). Automated white balance (right) does not always produce the best image results, because the brightest area in an image, regardless of its color, is defined as pure white.
Using RAW format, you can adjust the white balance of photos afterwards, or choose different white balance accordingly. JPEG (Joint Image Expert Group) format needs to determine the white balance before shooting.
The combination of sunlight and artificial light can produce obvious color deviation in images.
The combination of sunlight and artificial light can form obvious color deviation in the image. Photographers are conscious of this process, because we can not see this color deviation with the naked eye, but it can interfere with the final image.
V. Mixed Light
If we combine various light sources of different colors, we will produce so-called mixed light, which is represented by other color deviations besides natural tones in the image. Because white balance can only be aimed at light sources, only part of the color of the theme can be reproduced. The choice of light source is entirely up to you. One of the most important points is to reproduce the skin color of the person as truly as possible. Because the color deviation here is often very disturbing.
Mixed light has a very unique charm.
In any case, mixed light has a very unique charm, because it can make the color part of light clearly visible, but not dominate the whole picture.
A dramatic mix of light appeared at dawn.
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; if shot at dawn, artificial light will dominate the image more, while sunlight will become less obvious. As a result, a striking mixture of light appears in the photograph, which can give the photograph an artistic and artistic effect.