Let’s talk about colour (or color if you are Merican)
“the quality of an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, usually determined visually by measurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light; saturation or chroma; hue”
I’m not going to get all physics on you (wholly because I can’t).
But I am, as a photographer, somewhat confused.
You see I am married to a florist, a very good one. And in a previous life (when I was younger and had less hair) part of my photographic learning process was the hand-printing of colour negatives and transparencies onto print medium.
This means we both have a good understanding of colour, its been a big part of our working lives.
When a couple have a consultation with my lovely wife they talk in detail about colour. The natural colours of flowers & foliage, the greens, pinks, purples, whites, and yellows of the botanical world, the shades, hues and saturation’s all lovingly picked to compliment other aspects of the day such as the season or the Bridesmaids dresses, in short, their favourite colours.
Can you tell the difference between an Amnesia and a Sweet Avalanche rose?
Pale pink, dusky pink, vintage lilac, roll up, roll up we have them all.
Who will buy my sweet red roses? Well it depends, are they Red Naomi or a Grand Prix?
There is a plethora of beautiful colours provided by mother nature to tone your wedding day with the palette you have always dreamed of.
So, I’m left wondering why it is that a lot of photographers in recent years have taken those carefully chosen colours and changed them beyond recognition in the post production? And the couples proudly share these photos with their suppliers, who in turn must think “those Bridesmaids dresses/flowers weren’t that colour, and I swear the venue doesn’t have that colour grass!” No questions asked of the photographer. “Why are my dusky pink amnesia roses dark orange”?
So, the question today is two-fold.
Why would a couple spend time, effort, money & a florist’s expertise on choosing and matching colours, spend hours on Pinterest getting just the right shades and then book a photographer based on a portfolio of photos that all look the same colour, an unnatural overriding tone created by a Lightroom pre-set which will make your beautiful colours look the same as every other couples wedding they have shot.
Compare them to shots your friends and family have taken on iPhone’s (before Instagram filters applied!) you’ll likely get a truer rendition of colour from them than from your professional.
And finally, your photos won’t stand the test of time, I can look at wedding photos and immediately say “you were married in 2010” because most photographers at the time were applying “vintage” style filters to their images, they now look naff and dated.
These warm tone, dark and moody, de-saturated or even light and airy high key images taken in 2019/2020 and most likely 2021/22 will look so very “2020” in 2030 when you are possibly showing them to your 8 year old daughter, they will not be timeless and they will not be a true reflection of your day.
My other question is why the photographers would invest in the very best gear (the latest trend is Sony mirrorless attached to leather cowboy style harnesses), very expensive professional lenses, spend money on servicing and maintaining these amazing (and costly) cameras and optics and then take the very soul of the photos and make them one generic style. Your wedding, your style and your colours are unique so why shouldn’t your photos be?
In summary, as a professional photographer who has come to digital from film with the skills and knowledge of how to process and hand print colour negatives, and having spent many hours in a darkroom (and you can’t use a safe-light when printing colour) getting perfect colours for dresses/flowers/grass it is beyond my comprehension that the current trends are to destroy all of that natural beauty and colour for a universal dirge.