Managing colour

My initial reaction when I read this exercise was that I seldom feel that I have a significant colour cast on images and I think that is because I (almost) always set the white balance to the appropriate setting.  That said, it is not always easy to know what to choose, for example, the images I took inside the Church, do I choose ‘shade’, which is probably most accurate or do I choose ‘direct sunlight’ because my aim was to catch the sunlight on the pews?  As it was, I chose ‘auto’ but then adjusted it in processing because I felt the colour was too warm.

Fungi on a rotting tree stump

Fungi on a rotting tree stump

As I browsed through my images in preparation for this exercise I noticed that the images where I felt there was a distinct colour cast were either taken indoors or where the lighting was quite difficult, for instance in amongst some trees on a sunny day, as was the image of the fungi.  In this case, white balance was set to direct sunlight, which it was before we entered the woods and I had forgotten to change it.  I measured the grey from a spot in the bottom right.  I did have to resort to the white  balance slider to get a colour I was happy with though.Indoor courtyard

The second picture is of a courtyard in the middle of a house and in this case white balance was set at shade but the colour was much too warm.  In addition to the sampling the neutral grey and using the white balance slider, I had to tone down some of the highlights and use the adjustment brush to recover some of the detail in the shadows.  Lima CathedralFinally, I’m back inside a Church for the third shot, this time in Lima, Peru, and again wasn’t sure which white balance setting to use so left the camera on ‘auto’.    The interior of the Church is very golden but looked more orange in the original image.  The tones have had to be adjusted to reduce clipped highlights in the windows and as well as adjusting the colour I have made some attempt at straightening the vertical pillars.

These last few exercises have been very useful.  I have got into the habit of shooting in RAW and choosing the correct in camera settings as far as possible.  I also use the highlight and shadow clipping warnings when I process the images and adjust the contrast and brightness but I did not know about setting black and white points or sampling neutral grey areas, nor have I really experimented with the white balance and hue sliders prior to these projects.  What I need to do now is go back to the workflow plan set up in unit 1 and edit it to include these additional actions.


About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010, I decided I wanted to take my photography further and enrolled for the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I enjoyed so much that I went gone on to do Digital Photographic Practice and People and Place. In April 2016 I enrolled on my fourth OCA photography course, Documentary. This blog is my Learning Log for this course.
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