Colour Temperature of Light

Light displays different characteristics in relation to colour composition, depending on the light source. The light’s colour temperature impacts the subject’s colour rendering. The expression colour temperature is derived from the glowing, red-hot iron that radiates light with their respective wavelengths.

Human vision adapts automatically to different light sources (chromatic adaption). Major deviations in colour can occur when using different sources of light that have little to do with the natural perception of light.

In professional analog photography, various photographic films (daylight or artificial light films) and/or filters (conversion filters) are used in order to adapt to the different colour temperatures in changing lighting condition.
In digital photography, the white balance is intended to ensure that no unwanted colour cast (deviation in colour) occurs. The automatic white balance usually functions reliably. In difficult lighting conditions however, manual adjustments may need to be made to the white balance. If your camera has a RAW format, you can correct and post-process images captured in this format on your computer. Corrections can also be made in other formats, but they are considerably more limited than in RAW format.

In the chapters “the right light“, the light’s colour temperature is seen mainly as a creative aspect in relation to natural light. Topics such as time of day, the weather, the golden hour, the blue hour, night images, mixed light, artificial light… all incorporate the colour temperature aspect. 

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