When you already have a room in a color you like and the walls are still looking great, who wants to paint it all over again? Talking with a customer last night who had three quilts in her basket but couldn't decide which one would go with her existing wall color, I asked her for the paint name and said I would do some personal shopping for her. I mean, that is what we do around here!
Today I stopped at Lowe's Home Improvement Store and picked up her paint color; American Tradition color 5004-1B Lyndhurst Celedon Green. During our phone conversation she referred to the walls as aqua several times, so when I was told the color name I was unsure. Would it be green as named or would aqua be a better description? Picking it out in the store and giving a first impression, I saw green - as named. Color is relative to light, though, and even what other colors are in proximity so now I was curious about her quilt choices.
Next I pulled out her three choices shown next: Meridian Waters, Fiesta Key, (St Augustine, third, is our addition), and Sealife Aqua. I photographed them for our Instagram account so I could let her see each choice with the paint swatch. But look at what I got on the first set of photos taken with a tablet:
Can you see the color difference in the paint swatches? The first almost makes the greenish swatches look brown. None of the 4 photos show even the paint swatch as the same color, so how was this helpful? Each photo taken in the same spot with the same light source and direction. For ease of uploading to Instagram, I took the photos with a tablet which actually takes great photos but is not able to set the white balance. These would not do! So I pulled out the big gun (Canon), set the white balance to custom with a White Balance card and photographed them all again. Check out the difference:
Getting the White Balance correct made the colors correct and so gives us a better comparison for our customer. When we photograph our products for the webstore we are this careful because when you are shopping from home, the actual color is really important. You will see many photos for most of our products in the online catalog and some will be taken at difference points in time and therefore with different light sources and white balance. But in a direct comparison, only the same white balance will do!
There are several points to take away from this experiment. First, light and subject can alter how color appears. The initial photos were different because the tablet perceived the proximal colors differently. Humans will also perceive color differently based on the colors near each other. Even when you are shopping in a store with product in hand, you can get it home and the colors seem to have shifted. Did they change on the way home? No, it is simply the perceived color in your room with your paint, windows, lights and other accessories versus the store. We have a 30 day return policy because you really do have to see something in your home with your stuff, whether shopping online or in person.
Second, you really want to shop with a store who can show you multiple images of a product. Because each one is important to your understanding of the color and construction of the item. We try to show the whole quilt, the reverse, the accessories, the stitching-everything. Beach House Linens usually has the manufacturer's professional photo of a collection but then we also show in-depth and closer images that you can really see. And we pay special attention to the color balance so you can feel confident about the images you see.
In the final analysis, does this mean it will match when you get home? Unfortunately, not always. The color balance in your home may be different than the photos you are comparing, or your monitor may be off slightly which will certainly affect color. But if ever a customer says the colors online appear differently than in person, we check and update immediately. And for the thousands of photos we have up, we rarely have that as a issue. (yay!) Our reviews though are above average and we expect to keep impressing shoppers with our products and service!
Need help with color, ask us! Here is a look at what we posted to Instagram for this customer and our personal shopper suggestion:
Ready for more information on white balance for your own photos? Here are three links to professionals talking about White Balance:
Your basic Canon tutorial.
An article showing the different white balance options already on your camera(even most point and shoot).
And lastly , here is a nice YouTube video with an example photographing lavender(who doesn't love lavender!). Great video explanation of white balance during the shooting process and even in post-production.