accurate colour for architecture and interiors photography

True colours

How important is accurate colour to you? If you are an architect, interior designer or product manager and you have spent long hours agonizing over colour choices you will probably say its matters a lot.

Achieving accurate colour reproduction in photography is actually far more of a challenge than you might imagine. Colours look different in morning light to mid day light or under LED light or incandescent. More tricky still, a specific light source can pick up a different hue from what reflects it such as a coloured wall or the lawn outside a window. Different camera sensors – even within the same kind of camera each interpret light differently as do different camera lenses. No wonder it is tricky!

There are a number of different steps I take to ensure good colour management throughout my process.

  1. Care with colour balancing the light sources I use – for interiors this might mean placing coloured gels overparticular architectural light sources such as LED lights inside glass cabinets.
  2. Profiling my cameras for each lens and sensor combination and in different light types.
  3. Producing profiles for the different papers that I use to make photographic prints.
  4. Regularly profiling my monitor to ensure it shows accurate colours
  5. Working in the dark – well note exactly the dark but in fairly dim lighting. A monitor hood makes a big difference.

Of course absolute colour accuracy isn’t always the priority you might assume it is. I often say that my work is less about showing a project or product as it really is and more about showing it how it was intended to be!