I recently finished Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit and I have so many great impressions. It’s not just the story and characters I liked, but this TV show is a real treat for photographers. Martin Kaninsky is also enchanted by it, and in his recent video, he guides you through the brilliant use of complementary colors in The Queen’s Gambit.
Understanding color is one of the crucial things to understand, no matter if you’re a photographer or a video creator. Understanding color theory and psychology will help you add more meaning and impact to your work. So, if you’d like to master the use of color, Joanna Kustra has an amazing video for you.
I’m not a fan of western superhero franchises.
Yes I fully appreciate that I’m in the minority here and it’s certainly not my intention to turn you away in the first sentence, but rather to solidify the fact that this exploration of colour in cinema does not come from a fanboy solely driven by vapid, one dimensional characters and napkin narratives, but rather pure adoration of a masterwork in cinematography.
Ever wondered why I’m so fussy about ‘clean’ lighting with my coloured gelled photography? Well it’s because failing to produce cleanly lit shots with gels, simultaneously produces horrendous looking shots with gels.
When I refer to clean lighting I’m referring to the fact that I like to keep all of my lights in my scene exactly where they’re supposed to be. If I have a background light then I have it lighting the background and nothing else, when I have a hair light, I have it lighting the hair and nothing else and so on. This might seem fairly obvious but when you’re using white-light and large modifiers like softboxes, the lighting is going everywhere whether you like it or not. We simply can’t get away with being that sloppy with coloured gels.
Colour can be one of the hardest things to master in photography. The real world doesn’t always provide the most pleasing colour for our images. Even within the same scene, different colours can clash and compete for attention. It’s a subject that many graphic designers study religiously to get perfect harmony in their work. But for photographers, it’s a subject that seems to skip by many.
It shouldn’t be, though. It’s one of the most important aspects of photography you can learn. Some of the principles might feel difficult to wrap your head around at first. But they’re usually fairly straightforward when explained simply. Landscape Photographer Dave Morrow goes very in-depth on colour theory in this 40 minute video. And by the end of it, you’ll understand the principles to take your work to the next level.
We have posted a few really awesome cinematic color grading tutorials lately – but they all use Photoshop.
Instead of jumping over to Photoshop, I thought that I would try to achieve my interpretation of the “cinematic color grading” look right in Lightroom – continue reading to see my Lightroom workflow.
I was recently at an interactive installation that had three theater lights – red green and blue shining on a white wall.
The kids were fascinated by this – especially with how the colors mixed and how they could make different colors by casting shadows on the wall.
This is a human scale representation of the red-green-blue (RGB) additive color model (the electronic screen you are looking at right now uses the exact same method to reproduce every color you’re looking at).
It also reminded me of some of the really cool applications to use photography gels to have fun with color.
Color is something that’s on my mind a lot throughout the shoot process. It’s something to consider when planning, shooting or doing post work. This video from motion graphics artist Rhea Lelina Manglapus does a decent job at making color theory both fun to watch and pretty easy to grasp.
Starting with the basics, Rhea takes us on a journey that packs a lot of information into a relatively short amount of time. If you have started to dive into color (which we have lately), this would be a great refresher.
I pretty much shoot exclusively color images – I don’t know why, I just always tend to resonate towards color rather than a monochrome image. Maybe it was my formative years when I spent most of my days color printing in a darkroom. Anyway what I realized a few years ago, when I analysed a selection of my work was that that almost all of my images were composed from a very select group of color palettes. I guess this was done intuitively, maybe from my early years of color printing, or from my mis-spent youth at Art college, but from this point I have purposely tried to finesse and perfect the color palettes and theory in all my images.
So firstly I guess its important to lay down some basics. As photographers we are all aware of the Primary colors of Red, Blue & Green [RGB] and the printing Primaries, Yellow, Magenta and Cyan [CYMK including Black] but when thinking about my color palette I tend to think within the traditional Primaries as taught to painters and artists, Yellow, Red and Blue [YRB]. From these Primaries we can off course create secondary and Tertiary Colors. see the Goethe Color wheel below.
In order to understand curves we need to understand color in the way that Photoshop does. This is called Additive color theory
EVERYTHING in an image is made of 3 colors – RED – GREEN – BLUE