Made for each other – photography and color: the pictures of the week (week 19)

Color and photography are closely related. Colors transport moods and emotions. They play a central role in visual communication as they have a significant impact on the impact of a photo.

There are many ways to use color in photography, from selection to composition to composition. Color contrasts such as between complementary colors (red and green, blue and orange, yellow and violet, etc.) can be used to create a strong visual effect. Tones also have a big impact on the mood of a photo, depending on whether you’re working with cool or warm colors.

In many areas of photography, color fidelity is a crucial aspect: are the colors reproduced exactly in comparison to reality? Do they correspond to reality? Factors such as the imaging performance of the lens, the quality of the camera/sensor, and the color calibration of the monitor play an important role in achieving an accurate result. Many things can also be corrected in the post-processing of the images (incorrect color reproduction, excessive color contrasts or color casts) in order to obtain an image that is as natural as possible.

Of course, this also works the other way around. Falsifying and manipulating colors in a targeted manner in order to create a certain mood is a popular design tool, especially in modern photography. Colors can be boosted or softened, much like turning the volume knob on a stereo up or down. The photo “A Japanese Morning” from our c’t photo gallery is a very nice example of a “twisted up” color rendering. The picture is completely bathed in yellow and the golden shining sun forms a strong contrast to the dark brown of the tree trunk. The photographer Anja Popp writes: “The picture was taken for an exhibition in the STP gallery in Greifswald. The monochrome rendering intensifies the surreal scenery. The lighting conditions were extraordinary at that moment.”

In landscape photography, too, the colors, alongside the composition, are a central means of expressing how beautiful and extraordinary nature is. A natural and lively motif is crucial for many nature photographs. From the blue of the sea to the beige of the sand and the gray of the sky, gallery photographer Joachim Kiner has captured a French beach naturally. About his photo “Swimming Pool” he reports:

“The picture was taken in 1997 on a holiday of several days in Brittany and is one of the few ‘analogue’ pictures in my portfolio. My photographic equipment at the time consisted of a compact Fujifilm with a fixed focal length. Technically speaking, it was already a fossil back then “But as you can see, that didn’t stop an amateur like me from taking a photo worth seeing – thanks to the subject. The age of the photo print and its battered condition, on the other hand, caused major problems. After it was digitized with an Epson scanner A lot of manual work was needed to remove the many scratches and other signs of wear. I stayed close to the original in terms of color, but raised the brightness control a bit to underline the early summer mood.”

All pictures of the week can be found in the following picture gallery.

Saturday: “Autumn in Patagonia” (Image: holysh0t)

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More from c't photography

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