Natural light varies in color temperature from early morning to sunset. On an average day, color temperatures can start with a very cool white light, get brighter and warmer toward noon and then fading away at sunset with even warmer tones.
To work in the extremes you get from sunrise to sunset, you must be very color conscious. See the actual colors and don’t force them either in-camera or in post-production to be what you think they should be. Rather let them reveal themselves and their truth.
Sadly many photographers are now replacing skies in their photographs. They now artificially live in a place where the skies are always bright blue, deep rich pastels or vivid setting colors. In this new digital world, there are never gray days, or blown out skies, or days when the morning comes so gently that you can barely see the horizon line.
We have come to expect this plastic version of living from advertising ads and postcards, but in our real lives it can be jarring.
The primary problem in post is that the photographer replaces the skies without taking the rest of the photograph into consideration. The temperature of the light changes the look of the other colors. Grayer skies give us cooler temperatures – moving bright blues to cooler softer blues. The same is true for every shade in the rainbow. So when you replace the skies with a bright blue when the colors in the rest of the photograph were shot with a cold gray, the photograph looks “photoshopped” and I mean that in the bad way people use the word. Artificial. Unattractive.
While I am a fan of post-production editing, it should be done in an artistic way. Making changes that bring out the best in the photograph while still leaving a consistency in the color range of the elements.
The challenge this month is to work in the various color temperatures and then resist the temptation to “replace” or “over-enhance” the skies.
Take the challenge.
Go Au Naturale!
Sleepy morning as the colors begin appearing on the horizon is a soft cool shade compared to end of day with its vibrant warm shades. Instead of looking at the sky line, look at the blue in the building next door.