Color Theory in Photography Essay

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Color Theory in Photography

Color photographs begin as black and white negatives. Color film consists of three layers of emulsion, each layer basically the same as in black and white film, but sensitive only to one third of the spectrum (reds, greens or blues). Thus, when colored light exposes this film, the result is a multilayered black and white negative
After the negative images are developed, the undeveloped emulsion remaining provides positive images by "reversal." The remaining emulsion is exposed (chemically or with light) and the film developed a second time with a different developer. As it converts the light-sensitive silver compounds to metallic silver, the developer becomes oxidized and combines with "coupler" compounds to
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Thus:

Primary Primary Combined Color Colors Color of the Absorbed Unaffected Subtractive Complementary Red Blue & Green Cyan Green Blue & Red Magenta Blue Red & Green Yellow
The complementary colors are the control colors of subtractive color synthesis; thus, the dyes in color filters and emulsions, and the inks (process colors) used in photomechanical reproduction are cyan, magenta, and yellow. A single complementary produces its own color. Two complementaries in equal strengths produce a primary color because each absorbs a primary--e.g., magenta and yellow absorb green and blue, respectively, leaving red to be seen. Combinations of unequal subtractive strengths produce intermediate colors from white light.
A combination of all three complementaries produces black (full strengths) or gray (lesser equal strengths) because all colors are subtracted. In color filtration this produces neutral density.
Primary-color lights can be additively mixed to produce colors, but primary-color dyes, inks, or filters do not permit selective color control by subtractive action because each absorbs the other two primaries equally. The complementary colors permit subtractive control of each of the three primaries individually; like additive synthesis, this corresponds with the three-color theory of vision.(1)

Color photographic film and
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