ARE YOU STILL LOOKING FOR THE "PERFECT COLOR"?

My belief is that color is one of the most subjective elements for humans because in reality we have no way of applying it or translating it for others. I can say the word ‘Red’ and you’ll have an idea of what I mean, but it’s still extremely vague. But maybe if I say the color “Deep Blood Red”. we will be close to understanding the same color, but we are still far from perceiving exactly the same color. To be precise, I can use the term #cc0000. This is the hex code for a color that is part of a color language. With this language we can communicate the same color to each other.
Red hex color code #cc0000

But a problem still persists. You and I will see different versions of these tones because each human eye has its own understanding of color.

Color is totally subjective and color is only relevant when we want to interact and communicate with each other. This subject of exact color definition intrigues any photographer and it is completely understandable that you want to obtain accurate colors in your photos and many Youtubers and Bloggers have tried to teach us that we should use a gray card to achieve the perfect colors, check the white balance to ensure the colors, calibrate the colors of our monitor and edit our photos in an environment with neutral colors. But the truth is that the perfect color does not exist!

WHITE BALANCE SCALE IS NOT A UNIVERSAL SCALE

White Balance - Kelvin scale
White Balance scale (PetaPixel)

Photography brands often say that white balance is the key to accurate color and while it is somewhat true in theory, it is actually quite different.

The diagram above shows what Canon and Nikon cameras have set white balance on their cameras.

For example, if you set the tungsten white balance on a Nikon camera, the machine will set the Kelvin value to 3000K and if you do the same on a Canon camera, it will be 3200K.

Looking at the diagram we realize that two of the largest camera manufacturers in the world do not agree with White Balance scale configuration.

OUR EYES CHANGE WITH AGE

When we born we see the world in shades of blue and in warmer tones when we get older. Our eyes and color perception are unique to each other thanks to semiotics and personal experiences.

So don’t be afraid to play with the white balance and the colors in your photos and always remember that it’s not about getting perfect colors or getting accurate colors, but about what looks best for the final photo.

FINAL THOUGHT

  • Color in photography has to tell a story and plays a key role in how your photos are perceived. Builds a personal perception of color.
  • Don’t worry too much about the gray card and color calibration on your monitor or printer unless you intend to print your photos or put them on sale.
  • In some areas of photography, such as portraits and fashion, the important thing is to sell a feeling or a lifestyle, not reality.
  • Free yourself from the preconceived idea of how color should be from a physical point of view and focus on how color should be from an artistic point of view.