Essential Color Manual for Photographers, by Chris Rutter,
Georgiou, February 2007
Chris Rutter has been involved in photography for
over 20 years. He has a degree in Photographic Science
from the University of Westminster, and his work
has appeared in a number of leading magazines, including
Digital Photo. Rutter is also the Technical Editor
for Practical Photography magazine, the UK's top-selling
photography title. He describes himself as a "quiet,
unassuming insomniac with a steely determination
to spend as much time as possible away from the office," and
that he has a "healthy appetite for the great
outdoors and a genuine fear of having his own photo
Essential Color Manual for Photographers is another
excellent book in the Essential series from Rotovision.
The book has been created to provide photographers
with an understanding of color as it relates to
the digital and photographic worlds. The book features
10 chapters, dealing with key color concepts. In
the first chapter issues like color theory, color
spaces and systems are explained simply and effectively.
Concepts like color blindness and other limitations
in visual acuity are also covered, all of which
I found particularly useful as inclusions.
second chapter deals with image capture technologies
and how they handle and affect color. The chapter
also discusses ISO equivalency, image compression
artifacts and very briefly deals with film based
image capture. This chapter although brief, does
provide an overview of the current state of the
art. However, the coverage of film capture, while
useful, lacks depth.
chapter deals with the quality of light and covers concepts
such as color temperature systems and white balance, along
with coverage of optical color filters. The information
here, although brief, does a very good job of explaining
why scenes look so different at varying times of the day
and also provides a good jumping off point to explore this
further in other reference books.
4 and 5 deal with Digital Considerations and Workflow — issues
such as color management and calibration. These chapters
do a very good job of explaining color spaces, gamut and
bit depth. They also cover device constraints and the importance
of device calibration and profiling. I found that the visual
examples for bit depth failed to adequately convey the
subtleties of this issue, although the histogram accompanying
the images helped somewhat.
chapter looks at what basic tools and controls can be used
to tune your images colors. Here the reader is introduced
to and attention is paid to tools like the Hue/Saturation
dialog, Levels, Curves and Color channels.
7 is the first one delves more deeply into the subject
of color and covers theories like complementary and harmonious
colors. It also details situational and thematic color
handling such as dealing with skin tones, mixed lighting
situations, limited color palettes, using color to evoke
a mood, and the issues surrounding the capture of seasonal
color. All through this section (which runs about 38 pages),
the subjects being discussed are supported by some very
well chosen photographs which richly illustrate and help
reinforce the reader's grasp of the theories being explained.
two chapters deal with specific techniques. The subject
matter is handled well and provides you with some excellent
and useful ways to enhance a broad range of images. Techniques
like color balancing, saturation, film type emulation,
black & white conversion, and duo and tritones are
clearly explained, providing valuable information and well
organized explanations. Other techniques such as color
popping, solarization, cross processing (where you process
print film using slide processing or vice versa), and the
digital emulation of infrared are given detailed coverage
as well. Most importantly here, the issues are well discussed
and again provide the reader with plenty of fuel for their
chapter introduces us to the works of four distinctly different
photographers and provides web links so that readers can
further explore the work of these well chosen talents.
I enjoyed following up the book with and exploration of
their online portfolios.
would have liked to see more in-depth coverage of digital
technology and workflow. A couple of the examples could
have benefited from better source images.
design, layout and writing. Excellent coverage of the subject
of color. Superb selection and use of examples. This is
another excellent book from Rotovision and one which will
help to clarify the issue of color for budding digital
imageers and photographers. Like the previous Essentials
book it uses language and examples which make it approachable
for readers of all skill levels. Highly recommended for
all photographers who work with digital technologies.