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Why Eyes & Cameras Can’t Match Colors

It’s easy to think that our world looks the way it does because that’s just how it looks, but this is not the reality. The world, as we know it, actually “looks” vastly different, depending on how, who, or what is looking at it. Confused yet? Well, don’t worry, we’re going to share with you why cameras and our eyes make for imperfect color matching, then provide the solution you need to reliably match colors every time!

On Understanding the Challenges of Color

First off, let it be known that colors are subjective. For instance, how I see and understand “orange” is a concept that is unique to me and cannot be shared or compared with how you see and interpret orange. To put it plainly: None of us can know for sure that we ever see colors the same as someone else, which is why up to a third of people may be some degree of color blind and never know it.

Colors Aren’t Real

Okay, so this may come as a shock, but there is no such thing as color. In fact, what you’re seeing when you perceive an apple as red isn’t that the apple itself is red, but that the apple (whatever it may look like without light) is simply projecting red from the light that was shined upon it. This means that the apple actually rejects red, choosing to absorb every other visible color to appear as though it were red. This works because light, as it turns out, moves extremely fast and is continually bouncing off anything and everything wherever it shines. This is basically how the human eye and cameras see everything: From reflected light that is rejected from the object itself, meaning that we basically only see in contrast; apples aren’t actually red, they just absorb the other colors well enough to reflect red to our eyes.

Exact Color Matching Tool

Light is Tricky

Even after the things we’ve already left you thinking about, there are plenty more issues with color that leave our eyes and cameras susceptible to errors. Largest of all is the amount and orientation of light captured in a given scene; whether you’re looking with your eyes or viewing a picture, what you see is heavily influenced by the amount of light in the area and where it is projected from. Ask any photographer about their largest struggle to get the best possible picture and their answer will always center around lighting control; in fact, “good” and “bad” photographers are largely separated by only their knowledge, experience, and mastery of light control. This becomes especially tricky when trying to compare a color in a different environment to how it would look elsewhere, which you are likely doing when you look at anything on a sales floor. It’s only logical that a sales floor will feature illuminating lights that make colors appear more vivid, but that is not the reality of what you’ll find at home or elsewhere. Clothes will never look quite the same in the store as they do in your closet, just as paint colors will appear brighter and warmer colors will appear more vivid than they will actually look once purchased.

We’ve Made It Worse

If the problem of a sales floor is bad, then online shopping is worse. We believe, falsely, that things will look the same on a screen as they do in reality. Unfortunately, the professional lighting and photography used in product photos found on eCommerce stores cannot be compared to how they will actually look in your day-to-day life. Likewise, once purchased, it is difficult to match items to other items, as you can’t really estimate how they would look in similarly lit environments. This may not seem like a big deal initially, but if you’re counting on a pair of shoes matching your outfit for an event this weekend, then you likely won’t be thrilled when they not only don’t match, but actually clash with the outfit. Smartphones, the same technology that makes us even more color challenged, can now also be used to match colors with our Color Muse color matching tool.

Match Any Color, Any Time

We created our innovative color matching tool to provide anyone access to unbiased, completely accurate matching. The Color Muse color matching tool is slightly larger than a tube of chapstick, but has the power to instantly identify and catalog the colors of anything you own, then provide exact match products instantly. Thanks to a self-contained interior light source that is immune to atmospheric light bias, this powerful tool can be used to match paint colors to furniture, find complementary colors for that hard-to-match handbag, or even just get an accurate color to catalog and reference later.

Find your perfect color with Color Muse today!