Understanding Color Temperature

Understanding Color Temperature
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Having a basic understanding of color temperature is essential. Color temperature is about determining the color of the different light sources. If you are from photography and cinematography, understanding color temperature is fundamental. Colors matter in portraying your story and conveying your message.

Every color has a specific meaning and gives a message. Moreover, color temperatures can vary from excellent to warm. Keep reading to have a better understanding of the color temperature.

What is the Color Temperature?

Color temperature can be defined as the warmness or coolness of the light. Light varies from source to source, having a different color. The light has different color shades, which include skin tones too.

Since every light is different, some lights make the scene warmer while some lights make the scene cooler. The human eye is excellent as it can adjust to every type of light. Most of the time, our eyes don't even observe the colors. However, the camera captures every color.

You have taken a photo with an orange shade, so the temperature will have to adjust. In photography, color temperature and white balance are usually interchanged. The aim should be to set the colors so that the whites don't get tinted. It's better to adjust the colors around a neutral shade.

Choosing a White Balance

In photography, there is no best color temperature. However, it is essential to match the same color. It's better to choose colors that can go with the scene and capture it. You can describe color temperature as a personal choice. It varies from photographer to photographer whether they choose cooler or warmer tones.

Most of the cameras come up with color temperature presets. Tungsten, Fluorescent, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, and Flash are the most common. Even the profession permits you to adjust the temperature according to yours.

You can do the setting significantly if you have an idea about the type of light. It's great to use Auto white balance if the light is complex. It works as a shade that doesn't have colour. Auto mode is excellent in analyzing the scene, which is perfect for neutral gray. He will utilize this shade to do the white balance settings. However, color adjustments can be made in the end.

Color Temperature Chart

Color temperature is measured in kelvin. Like Celsius, kelvin is also a scientific scale determining the light's coolness and warmness. However, the lowest numbers on color temperature are considered warm. At the same time, the higher numbers are considered excellent. However, the sunset is warm, but the shade is excellent.

Tints can be handled by making adjustments in the opposite direction. Sky will have a cooler temperature; adding warm colour tones can make it more natural.

Why Color Matters?

In photography and cinematography, colors play a huge role in delivering the story. Color theory has an impact on everything. According to the color theory, every color gives some message and has some meaning.

Nowadays, with the help of tools changing color is a minor deal. It's better to get your favourite base colors on a shoot so that manipulation will be easier later.

How to Fix White Balance in Post

Suppose you feel that some of the photos are not white-balanced, so you can apply different ways to do color correction. Remember that color correction and color grading differ from working with color temperature.

How to Add Color Highlights

Doing color in lightning will help you to add different colors in a single shot. To implement these tactics with the help of color theory, it's crucial to understand color temperature. If you want to add warmer or cooler color to the shot, here are the steps; let's look.

Set up your initial lights

The first thing you should do is set up your initial lights. These lights are excellent for creating the exposure you want. When light is exposed, the things that come to your mind are: Will the scene be bright or dark? Where will the shadow get a place, and so on?

Set your white balance

In a traditional three-point lighting setup, the leading light will be the one that will handle the white balance. In this way, the exposure in the shot will be natural and look real.

Set up colored light sources

When you will own your lightning setup and white balance set so you can add color highlights efficiently. Start by adding small sources of light around the white balance color temperature.

You can add light sources below the white balance for warm color accents. But add a light source above the white balance for more astonishing colour highlights. I am using a gel to change the color.

Color Temperature and Psychology

You know what! The red color is supposed to be warm, while blue is an excellent color. The energy source is hot, so it gets blue, but the tremendous energy source changes from yellow to orange to red.

‍That's a physics concept, more than this; we consider the link of color temperature with psychology. We deal with the colors as per the psychological triggers. Blue is considered cool due to water, ice, or sky. On the other hand, red is warm because of fire, blood, and sunset.

The Appearance of Color Temperature

The role of light color temperature is to determine how the light source looks. It's pretty simple if a light appears red and warm, it is a warmer color whose temperature ranges from 2000K - 3000K.

However, the corresponding light spectrum will be expected to have more red light wavelengths than blue light wavelengths. The cooler color temperatures of light will have around the 4000K-6000K range. It will have more blue light wavelengths in the light.  

Role of Color Temperature in Our Lives

Color temperature affects our energy levels and moods. The warm color temperature symbolizes the feeling of cosiness and rest. On the other hand, a cool color temperature increases energy. The more blue light wavelength is present, the more person will become alert.

The human eyes are super sensitive to blue wavelengths, which alert the brain and body to suppress melatonin, if any. That's the reason why everyone keeps their lights warm in color temperature. On the other hand, these blue lights in cool lights will keep you awake and not let you sleep.

Color Temperature Wavelengths

Every light has different color temperatures. LED light provides a full spectrum, Incandescent offers a warmer light, but fluorescent offers both warm and cool color temperatures; here are the variations of wavelength depending on the light; let's have a look

  • The color less than 2000K offers meager light, such as the light you get from a candle. 
  • This 2000-3000K range results in soft, yellow light, which is suitable for the outside and exterior. 
  • This range of 4000-5000K gives a significant quantity of white light. Ideal for offices and doing work. 
  •  This range of 5000-6000K results in bright blue light, such as sunlight. 
  • Color temperature more than 5000K is not easily found as they are used where illumination is required.


Understanding color temperature is critical. Color temperatures can be cooler or warmer. Moreover, the higher the number on the scale, the cooler the color will be. On the other hand, the lower the number on the scale, the warmer the color will be.

Every light has a different color; every color has a different vibe. Colors do impact the mood and sleep pattern. Please keep visiting our site to read more informative articles.


What are the standard color temperatures in film and video making?

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The standard color temperatures for video lightning are “Tungsten” at 3200K and “Daylight” at 5600K.

What is the average color temperature?

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The most common color temperature is 650K.

What should my color temperature be?

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The ideal color temperature for your lighting depends on the situation and your personal preference. Generally, cooler temperatures around 5000-6500K are suitable for workspaces and task lighting, while warmer temperatures around 2700-3000K are suitable for more relaxed settings such as bedrooms and living rooms.

What is colour temperature in simple words?

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Color temperature refers to the perceived warmth or coolness of light, measured in units of Kelvin (K). Lower color temperatures (below 5000K) are considered "warm" and emit a yellow-orange light, while higher color temperatures (above 5000K) are considered "cool" and emit a bluish-white light.

Is 4000K good for eyes?

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Yes, 4000K is considered a good color temperature for the eyes as it provides a balance between cool and warm light. This temperature is suitable for workspaces and task lighting as it is bright enough to promote focus and alertness, while not being too harsh on the eyes.

Why is it important to understand color temperature?

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Understanding color temperature is important because it can affect the mood, atmosphere, and functionality of a space. The right color temperature can make a space feel inviting and comfortable, while the wrong one can make it feel cold and uninviting. Additionally, it can affect how well people perform tasks and see colors in a space.

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