What is Color Cast

I'll warn you, I'm going to ramble here at first for a bit.

I started this photography business over 4 years ago. It's continued to grow and so have I. I've grown as a person, a wife, a mother, and an entrepreneur. When I first started, I was basically just working to support my hobby of taking pretty pictures while getting to know wonderful people. Within the past year or so, I've been trying to find out how I can truly make this a business and give back so much more to my wonderful clients.

Pictures have always been important to me.  I have scrap books full of pictures starting from 8th grade on. It is a true honor when someone chooses me to freeze frame a moment in their life for ever. That's a big deal!

Part of what I have evolved my business to mean, is a much more in depth experience. When someone books with me, I want to insure that they will walk away loving their images. Part of loving your images comes from what you choose to wear. It can accentuate your best features, hide ones you aren't as fond of, assist you in exuding confidence, and make you look polished and put together. I have created a style guide that every one of my clients gains access to. It not only gives outfit suggestions, it will also suggest colors. I go even a step further and help you pick specific pieces to get the look you desire.

The purpose of this blog is to show how important the color you choose plays in your session. Unless you're a photographer, you probably don't know what a color cast is.  A color cast is "a tint of a particular color, usually unwanted, which affects the whole, or portion, of a photographic image evenly. Certain types of light can cause film and digital cameras to have a colour cast."

You've seen them before. When a child crawls into a red tunnel at the fast food restaurant and their face takes on a red tone...that's a color cast AND the clothes you wear to your session can create them.

I'm going to show you some examples, but don't judge the photography. E was my model and she was less than thrilled about it. To get her to sit still she was watching Tinker Bell so I kept "getting in the way". I dressed her in a white shirt so that she was not creating any casts prior. I then had E hold a piece of construction paper directly under her face. I edited all of these images the same. I did not do any adjusting of white balance, brightness (exposure) or tint. 

 Green

Green

This was green construction paper. It doesn't look like it did much to her face, but you can see the green tint on her shirt. Also, if you look at her chin, you can see that her face has a cool/green tone to it. 

 yellow

yellow

This was using yellow paper. I actually own a reflector/bounce that is gold. This shade has it's place, but let me add it with the bounce if we need it.  You can see on my model that her face is more yellow. Also, because it is a light color, her face is more well lit as the light bounces up.

 blue

blue

Oh Blue! This one can be one of my least favorites. Much like the green, when you look at E's face, you may not immediately notice the cool/blue tint to it. However, look at her shirt. It almost looks like she smeared blue crayon on it.

 red

red

Red. The color of romance....or sunburns. When E picked up this paper I immediately realized, oh that's awful. Her cheek and neck are pink and for whatever reason, it bounced a lot more light than some of the other colors onto her face.

 white

white

I included this one as an examples of a neutral. White just bounces light into the face.  You can see her chin and neck have a little extra highlights to them. 

I share these examples to illustrate the importance of color choice. I often recommend pastels or neutrals for this very reason. This isn't to say that you can't wear a bold color. Sometimes darker colors don't give a cast and work really well. You can check this by standing in natural light from the sun and holding your hand out over the shirt/dress you are considering. If your hand changes colors drastically, be aware that it will potentially do the same thing to your face. :) 

color cast example
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