The Art of Photography

Friday, 6 May 2011

Primary and Secondary Colours

For this exercise we are to find and photograph the three primary colours and three secondary colours of the standard colour circle. Decide if the truest colour is achieved by altering the exposure.

I love colour and prefer taking colour pictures to black and white. I am still having issues with achieving the right colour on my screen and what I print. Given these constraints I have attempted to get as true a colour as possible.
As a generalisation my preference is to increase saturation in colour, which can be done at the time of taking a picture by slightly underexposing.

Primary colours red, yellow and blue:
Red rocks. I find that to get that vibrancy of red underexposing works. This basket of vegetables was unexposed by third of a stop. Photographing sunset or sunrise is an example of how the redness benefits from under exposing. Hence why the best pictures are underexposed to the point where everything else is a silhouette.

Yellow does not work the same way as red. Underexposing these flowers made them take on an orange hue. For this photo I have overexposed the flowers by a third of a stop. The background is underexposed. Yellow has so many shades/hues that you really need to look carefully at how to treat it. Yellow also seems to reflect other colours around it. I found it could easily take on a green hue and in some lights can easily burn out.

I gave myself a difficult challenge in the blue picture. Dark blue deck chairs and a nice blue sky. The contrast is really to great. I have metered for the grey of the building so the sky is still blue but there is detail in the deck chairs. Filters would help out here. Also I would usually photoshop to deepen the blue in the sky. Blue is a colour that does become richer by a little under exposing. If the sky is that nice vibrant blue I will use it to meter from as it is similar to mid grey.

Secondary colours, green, violet and orange:

Green can be difficult as I discovered in the previous exercise photographing the green door. It can very quickly look grey. I looked for an area of vegetation that had several shades of green in it. Underexposing gave the truest colour. I probably could have gone even darker.

Violet. This was a challenge. Not the easiest to find in a large amount. I grabbed this chap from the street and convinced him to stand next to the grey wall for this shot. The grey has a blueness to it and similar hue to the violet/purple of his trousers that made this work. The best shot was the correctly metered one.

Orange proved the most difficult to get an accurate colour. I found lots of orange, although most of it was the fluro variety which very quickly looked red. Even this final picture, overexposed by a third of a stop, still looks redder than it should.

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