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An Introductory Guide to the Basics of Color Modification in Photos

Professional Picture Editing
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Creating visually appealing photos necessitate a basic knowledge of both color and light. These things matter a lot in photography as well as in professional picture editing.

The light also has the ability to produce a color. To be specific, it is created by light frequencies called visible light. Even by adjusting the hue, saturation, and brightness of an image, its color can be manipulated to achieve the desired look. So it is important for a professional to master the color theory, which includes the best practices with regards to mixing, editing as well as displaying color in photos. Aside from a camera’s software, this technical language is also used by professional picture editing programs.

The RGB color model, which is most frequently used in photography, is considered a technical language of color. It defines the main colors for the model and they are Red, Green, and Blue. By mixing these main colors, a color gamut can be produced in professional picture editing. By mixing them, secondary colors can also be produced. The combination of blue and red produces magenta, red and green produces yellow, and green and blue produces cyan. The number of distinct color combinations is nearly infinite.

Even when yellow and blue have the exact brightness when viewed on a computer screen, it can be perceived differently by the naked eye. As opposed to blue, the human eyes perceive yellow’s brightness to be more close to white. As opposed to yellow, eyes perceive blue’s brightness to be more close to black. Moreover, yellow’s perceived brightness value is higher as opposed to that of blue. This perceived brightness is what photographers and editors commonly refer to as lightness or luminosity.

The lightness changes from one pure color to the other, so it is important for photo editing services to know which combinations produce an appealing color combination in an image. The visually striking combinations are what people refer to as color harmonies. It requires the knowledge of which color to combine with another one in order to make it look harmonious.

Making adjustments to saturation, hue, and brightness filters in an image editing software can yield a different look to an actual photo. A hue is a pure color without black, gray or white added to it. All hues are considered colors, but all colors are not hues. In order to produce distinct colors in a photo, hued portions are tinted, shaded, as well as toned.

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Adding whiteness to any other color is called tinting. When colors are tinted, their luminosity or lightness value increases on the black to white tonal scale. The luminosity histogram, found in an editing software, provides the values for every pixel. Just as white color is added, hued portions of an image become tinted while its luminosity increases.

Adding blackness to any other color is called shading. It reduces the luminosity value of any color on the tonal scale. That means adding black makes those image portions shaded and look darker. On the other hand, adding grayness to any color is called toning. This technique does not have to consist of fifty percent gray always but can comprise gray’s tonal values in its entirety.

Another aspect that contributes to the color is saturation. Completely saturated colors are either pure colors or hues. Non-saturated colors lie on the black to white scale. The more saturation a particular color has, the more vibrant it looks to the naked eye. On the contrary, the less saturation, the more faded or washed out it looks. The same applies to a photograph.

Adding whiteness to a color de-saturates it. Because toning adds whiteness and blackness to a color, the technique also de-saturates it. On the other hand, shading does not have that effect to a color even as it reduces its luminosity value. All these lightness values are shown on different sides of the graphically represented histogram, such as the one in Photoshop.

Cameras and computer software are used to snap and manipulate digital photos. Thus, one requires a way to communicate particular color properties according to the electronic devices. The color coordinate system is what allows professionals to achieve that.

The Hue, Saturation, and Lightness or HSL Scale is a coordinate system that is used to represent each color in the RGB model. Sometimes it is referred to as Hue, Saturation, and Brightness or HSB. They both mean the same thing. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and other popular editing programs use a combination of HSB and HSL scales to represent light and color and aid editing of both. Making striking digital photos necessitates a mastery of an editing software, much like film necessitated mastery of darkroom post-processing. Retouching RAW photos in a software requires patience and skill just as post-processing film negatives in the darkroom.