Cold, Warm Light, Color Temperature what does it all mean?

Lighting Shades 01.jpg

Candle Light: 2000,  Tungsten: 2000-3400, Fluorescent: 4500, Day Light: 5600, Daylight: 6500, Moon Ligh 8000+ Note that 4500 and above are cool colors, and down from 4500 is warmer.

There are different shades or temperatures of white lighting. Cool, warm, neutral, but what does it all mean?  The picture below shows an example of cold light being blueish, warm lighting being yellowish, and the middle is neutral. As you may have guessed, it’s really just where the light falls along the blue-yellow axis.  You can also have two color temperatures that are the same but vary in tint.  In this case, you would be moving along the vertical axis, where colors might appear more green or magenta.

Varing Light

Below are the three primary colors, green, red and blue with white light being in the center, and you can see that the white varies quite a bit.


So how is all of this useful? Under warm white lighting, colors like orange and red look more vivid and bright. Cool white lighting has the opposite effect and emphasizes colors like green blue and violet.  There is a study done on the effects of colors on people. Redish or warm colors are associated with excitement and blue or cold colors can create a calming effect. You can experiment with different shades of light to add more layers of complexity to your photos.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s