Color Cast : What It Is + How To Avoid It
one way to ruin a photo without realizing it is by having a visible color cast. it is something we normally don’t think about when getting ready to take a picture, but having a color cast present in a photo can really disrupt it’s harmony. so what is a color cast? a color cast occurs when a color is unintentionally present on a subject because of it’s presence. for example, in the photo below the bright mint color of my pants is creating a color cast on the puppy’s fur. the bright color is reflecting onto the fur, creating an unnatural tone. had i not been wearing such a bright color, the integrity of his fur would have remained and the photo would have been more natural and accurate. being aware of color casts will help you to create better images, and save you time with color correction while editing.
did you know how you dress for pictures can ultimately make or break your photos? check out these 10 ideas for dressing for family pictures.
Color Cast : What It Is + How To Avoid It
avoiding color casts is really quiet simple. when preparing to take a photo, be sure that your subject isn’t surrounded by bright colors that will reflect onto them. you should especially be aware of this if your subject is light, as light colors tend to reflect colors very easily. for example, white coffee mugs or human skin easily soak in surrounding colors. why do you think wedding photographers always wear black!? if they wore colorful clothing, white wedding dresses would start taking on new colors and it would be like the final dancing scene in sleeping beauty all over again. “i’ll make it pink! i’ll make it blue!”
eyes are another place that color casts occur. eyes can soak up color easily, making them take on surrounding colors.
which brings me to an important note. what you wear, as a photographer, is really important. be sure to stick to neutrals that don’t put off color. colors like tans, grays, navy blue, and white tend to work best because they don’t give off color. even better, if you wear white you can act as a natural reflector.
need help figuring out what to wear to sessions? check out for photographers : how to dress for photo sessions.
if you are working with clients, be sure to recommend that they choose clothing that isn’t too bright in nature. i tell my clients to avoid neons all together. because your family or newborn clients will spend most of the session in close proximity to one another, bright clothing can reflect on skin and make skin tones take on unrealistic tones. there is nothing worse than a mama snuggling her daughter that is wearing a neon pink shirt, only to have the mama’s skin start to reflect pink tones. explaining color casts to newborn clients is especially important, as newborns tend to be held throughout most of the session so wearing appropriate colors will ensure that the newborn skin stays the beautiful peach, pink that it should.
the light source you use will also play an important role in potentially creating a color cast. if you are to use natural light, but forget to turn off a lamp on the left side of the room, your photo will take on yellow tones from the lamp as well as natural light. this means your photo will have two different temperatures and will create a photo that isn’t balanced. be sure to only use one light source per image and, when possible, use only natural light.
did you know wall paint can create color cast problems as well? be sure you read how to choose paint for better white balance.
color casts are one of those hidden problems that it will be beneficial for you to be aware of. does photographing a child in bright clothing mean your photos are going to be terrible? of course not. but be aware of the potential color cast situation and how that will affect skin. when possible, choose soft neutrals for both your subject to wear while being photographed and for you to wear when photographing. your photos will be that much better.
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