Photography Essay Example

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Color management

Modern colour found its birth during the seventeenth century. Before then, white colour was thought to represent light in its pure form. Also colors were thought to be modifications of white light. This paper will focus its discussion on the development of the theory of science of colour and how it is currently employed with colour management (Mollon, 2003 p.2).


In this theory Newton claimed that light was not made of waves but instead it was made of particles known as corpuscles. He based this argument on the fact that was never travel in a straight line. Developers of the wave theory had revealed that light waves are made of white light and their spectrum could be observed through a prism due to corruption within glass. Proving

this wrong Newton passed a white light beam through two prisms held at an angle so as to split the light to form a spectrum while passing through the first prism and recompose to white light while passing through the second prism. His work revealed the knowledge applied today in colour composition that light is made up of different seven colours. After isolation of a ray of particular refrangibility, he tried refracting the ray with other prisms, reflecting it form colour surfaces, passing it through mediums but its hue never changed. Such beams today are termed as monochromatic. A natural body`s colour represents its disposition to reflect light of some refrangibilities more than others. Today this is termed as a surface`s spectral reflectance. In his opticks, Newton demonstrates chromaticity diagrams which quantitatively depict the results obtained after mixing colours (Mollon, 2003 p.3).

photography 1The Aristotelian rainbow marks a transition from the philosophy of colour to the current computer graphics. Realistic synthesis of images which is a development in the graphic disciplines relates to the development of colour theories in many ways.

The Aristotle theory of rainbow formation is used in the construction method for real time rainbow rendering (Feinser, 2006 p.13).

Goethe is respected for his work on colour`s impact with regard to the psychology of humans. He continued in his works to determine the association of emotions and colours in the theory of colours. In the modern world, this association is still being used in both graphic design and psychology. He associated the colours in the colour wheel with certain expressions and meanings He defined yellow as gladdening and agreeable and so powerful in noble and serene environments. Red was associated with beauty, green with usefulness, blue with mean and violet with unnecessary stuff for example (Feinser, 2006 p.69).

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The Munsell Color System enabled the scientific discussion of colour. Colour was defined in terms of Hue, Chroma and Value. Hue represents the actual color, red, green or blue. Value represented how the appearance of light or dark colour. Chroma represented how strong or weak a colour was (Feinser, 2006 p.11).

Identification of strategies for successful colour combinations was first achieved by Johannes Itten. Seven methodologies were demonstrated for colour coordination by use of the hue`s contrasting properties. Contrasts add variations with regard to the intensity of the respective hues. They may be derived because of light, moderate or dark value.

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Saturation contrast is obtained through juxtaposition of light and dark values together with their relative saturation. Light and dark contrast is achieved through juxtaposition of light and dark values resulting in monochromatic composition.

Extension contrast is obtained through assignation of field sizes that are proportional relative to the colour`s visual weight. Complements contrast is created by juxtaposition of perceptual opposites of the colour wheel. The simultaneous contrast is created during perpetual vibration of boundaries between colours. Hue contrast is formed when different hues are juxtaposed. The hue contrast-primaries on the other hand are formed when primary hues are juxtaposed. Warm and cool contrasts are created when the juxtaposition of hues is regarded as ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ (Feinser, 2006 p.19).

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According to Subtractive colour theory, whenever colours are mixed using paints or while printing, the subtractive colour method is being used. This method demonstrates that one starts with white and finally ends with black. Darker results addition of every colour, are achieved until reaching black colour.

Printers employ the subtractive system to create a colour representation (Feinser, 2006 p.9).

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Additive colour theory posits that colour is created through combination of different wavelengths of light. Light is also necessary for colour perception. These wavelengths are not coloured but are able to produce a colour sensation. The human eye is bale to detect tiny portions of the light spectrum.

Regarding the visible spectrum shortest wavelengths are perceived as blue and the longer ones as red. Other colours appear between these two. Colour management today employs the knowledge of primary and secondary colours, RGB combinations, and black and white. The visible spectrum has three segments with primary colours represented in equal segments. Blue, Red and green are all primary colours and their combination to yield other colours is known as the “additive colour” system described by Maxwel, J.C. Combination of equal parts of each primary colour yield secondary colours; cyan, magenta and yellow. Production of prints employs this technique called CMYK where stands for black pigment addition. Models of colour developed with additive primaries are known as RGB. Equal amounts of primary additives when combined together yield white light. Absence of red, green and blue create black. In the projection vs printing platforms; television monitors display colour by use of additive color system. Digital cameras and scanners capture colour using the same principle (Feinser, 2006 p.14).

Professionals of graphic design are the ones who understand the importance of colour management. The real world of colour management strategies aim to achieve results that match the owner`s expectations. Printers, for example employ the techniques of colour management to achieved prudent results that meet the owner`s expectations. The printouts developed may appear to be different from the images appearing on a computer monitor. These adjustments are possible through use of the colour management scheme provide by the computer`s operating system and the image editing program or software. Epson printers are widely used taking into account the new technology of Adobe Photoshop. High quality print outs are obtained if the specific profiles designed for the Epson printer model and the type of paper are used. The basic profiles are installed into the computer plus the printer driver. There are other downloadable softwares like the Premium ICC profiles which are installed together with the printer software. Printing using the Premium ICC profiles with Adobe Photoshop CS5 with compute having Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP require that several procedures are carefully followed. First, a colour management environment is set up in Photoshop then a profile is assigned to the image. To achieve this, open Photoshop, select “Edit” then “Color Settings” (Figure 1) (Epson, 2011 p.4).

photography 6Figure1
(Adapted from Epson, 2011, Epson Professional Imaging: Color Management Guide)

North American Prepress 2 is then selected from the settings menu. This step is for setting the Adobe RGB (1998) as the RGB working space as well as activating profile messages. This can be finished by clicking on the Ok button (Epson, 2011 p.4).

The steps in the next section can then be followed in order to open the photo of interest and assigning a profile to it. In order to assign a profile to the photo of interest; the photo is first opened from its file location on the computer. A message indicating “Embedded Profile Mismatch” may appear. In such a case, the “Use the embedded profile” button is selected the followed by clicking on the “OK” button. A message indicating “Missing Profile” may also appear. In such a case, the “Assign working RGB: Adobe RGB (1998): is selected and then followed by clicking the “Ok” button. The selected photo will finally appear and thereafter the colour balance can be evaluated and the resultant contrast is displayed on the screen. Once the image appears appealing, the “Edit” button can be selected followed by clicking on the “Assign Profile” button (Epson, 2011 p.4).

A profile setting of choice can then be selected. This may include; either a scanner profile for the available scanner, a camera profile of the available camera or a different RGB working space like a ColorMatch RGB. The “Preview” button can then be clicked to enable viewing of the effects of the chosen profile. The “OK” button is selected followed by “File” and “Print” buttons. The Epson professional printer is selected from the highlighted lists available printer softwares followed by clicking on the “Colour Management” Button (Figure2) (Epson, 2011 p.5).

photography 7Figure 2
(Adapted from Epson, 2011, Epson Professional Imaging: Color Management Guide)

The document option is then selected under color management, while under Color Handling; the Photoshop Manages Colors option is selected. Under the Printer Profile, select the option of Epson`s profile and the type of paper to be used. For the Rendering Intent, the Relative Colorimetric is selected. There after, the Black Point Compensation Checkbox is selected followed by the Print Settings button (Epson, 2011 p.5).

Printing the profile managed photo requires that the following steps are followed. The Source and media type buttons are selected for the paper to be used for printing. The Print Quality setting is then selected under Quality Options (Figure3) (Epson, 2011 p.6).

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Figure 3 (Adapted from Epson, 2011, Epson Professional Imaging: Color Management Guide)

The profile Quality setting must match the profile setting. The High Speed and Edge smoothing should be turned off if available. The Quality Options window is the closed by clicking the “OK” button. The Custom Mode setting is selected followed by the Off (No Colour Adjustment) under the drop-down menu (Figure4) (Epson, 2011 p.7).

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Figure 4(Adapted from Epson, 2011, Epson Professional Imaging: Color Management Guide)

Click the “OK” button. A new window appears and the correct photo orientation is selected as per the owner`s preference (Figure 5) (Epson, 2011 p.8).

photography 10Figure 5
(Adapted from Epson, 2011, Epson Professional Imaging: Color Management Guide)

The “Print” is selected last to allow the printer to develop the photo print out (Epson, 2011 p.8).


Epson, 2011, Epson Professional Imaging: Color Management Guide.

Mollon, JD, 2003, The Origin Of Modern Colour Science,University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Feinser, EA, 2006, Colour: How To Use Colour In Art And Design, Laurence King Publishing, London.