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Sequence viewing > Aesthetics Index - Resource - © Lloyd Godman


When taking photographs it is important to distinguish between colours - in colour pigment printing and colour management etc. in photoshop it is crucial.

A colour can be defined in terms of:






Hue is very much the prime quality of a colour - it is the prime or what I call the HUEge reference point for a colour.

The colours arranged around the colour circle are all different hue, and all though they might be close to their adjacent colours - they are distinct. In taking photographs, the two ways that we can influence a hue are:

Using a different light source - like shooting at sunset when the colours are warm in stead of mid day, or under mercury vapour lamps where the colour is blue.

Using a coloured filter over the lens.

In either case its is only possible to alter the overall hue not that of individual objects.


This is a variation in the purity of a colour - at one end of the scale are pure vibrant - saturated colours - while at the other grey or dirty colours. So as hues have more grey added, they become less saturated. This also happens when black, grey white or opposite colours are mixed together. As most colours in nature are unsaturated, this has a direct relationship with taking photographs. In nature greys, browns and dull greens predominate, and it is for this reason the occurrence of pure colour is often sought after. Rich colours are often seen as more desirable than subtle pastel shades. While we can intensify the saturation in photoshop with remarkable results, we need to understand how exposure effects satuartion.



Both brilliance and saturation are degrees of HUE not colours in themselves.

Brilliance is the lightness or darkness of a colour - white and black are the extremes. It can be very difficult to distinguish between brilliance and saturation, but it may help to remember that in a range of brilliance, the colour remains pure and unadulterated - and as I call it brilliant.

The actual range of lightness and darkness differs between hues, which can cause difficulties in matching the brilliance. Yellow for example can only vary from a medium tone to and very light. Red becomes pink when very light - Blue covers a full range. Because of its closeness to yellow, orange does not have pure versions. The range of greens is affected more by the blue component than the yellow and can be very light or quite dark. Violet changes its character at either end of the scale, becoming lavender when light, but hard to distinguish from deep blue when dark. Brilliance depends very much upon the light level - and in taking photographs, a quality that can be altered through exposure.


Under and over exposing a roll of 35mm slide film or shooting a series of images with a digital camera of the same subject can give a good understand of how brilliance works. When the material is underexposed, the colours can intensity or become slightly darker - when the film is over exposed it becomes lighter.



Want to learn more? - do a workshop or one on one with Lloyd Godman

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