Colour palettes need to be considered and settled on. Many photographers don’t stop to consider their palette and rely on the one their camera gives them. In the past our colour palette was mostly the function of the film we chose and used.
Masterful photographers take control of their colour palettes and use this as part of the creative process.
Now to illustrate colour palettes I recommend looking at how painters paint and the colours they choose. Albert Namatjira was a masterful watercolour painter in the MacDonnell Ranges in central Australia. Having visited the area I was struck by the reds and oranges in the rocks and earth. The gorgeous sunsets that bring out purples and mauves. Uluru is a common example that exhibits many different colours in photographs. The colour range is outstanding and breathtaking.
If you haven’t looked at his work, I suggest you do. His paintings are exquisite. His choice of colours and the way he balances them harmoniously is exquisite. Study his colour palettes. My favourite colourist is Rothko, but I will leave him for another day.
Lightroom was updated this week. The way colour palettes are handled have seen a major overhaul for the better. Colour profiles were hidden at the end, and were rather limited. Now they are up front and centre. They have added many more and by there placement you will be encouraged to experiment with them.
This will be the most major change in the way most photographers handle colour and take control of colour palettes.
Each colour profile is a different colour palette. They use look up tables to convert the camera colours recorded in the raw file to a palette with a certain look. It won’t be long before these will be offered by third party vendors and designers and we will have a bewildering range of colour looks to choose from.
Dive in and experiment. I know I will be. There are even monochrome profiles there too. One new feature is that these colour profiles and even the older presets will now load on the full photograph when you mouse your curser over them.
Personally, I think this new change will bridge the colour gaps between Capture One and Lightroom / Camera Raw. Well, that’s my hope.
Albert Namatjira’s house in Central Australia, just outside of Hermannsburg. Photograph and text copyright ©️ Len Metcalf 2018