Being a color blind photographer

It has its moments. I am not going lie and say I just get by because I don’t. I need help like other color blind photographers out there.  In fact, when I was in college and taking the color course I needed help then.  My color blindness isn’t as bad as some others.  Some people have it really bad.  I get some orange and browns mixed up.  Sometimes a dark blue and black can look the same.  For me it depends on the colors that are next to each other and then other colors surrounding them.  When it is dark out it makes it really tough.

I’m not very fortunate when it comes to my eyes.  I have bad vision (my glasses RX is pretty strong), I’m color blind and I have sensitivity to light.  During the day I have to wear sunglasses while driving or I squint too much.  When coming out of a dark room I have to slowly open my eyes in a 5 minute time span otherwise I start tearing.

I was lucky enough that my professor helped me for two semesters of dealing with pure color.  Hopefully you would be too!

I’m not writing this to get sympathy from anyone because I make do.  My reason for writing this is to let you know that if you are color blind it is OK to ask if you need help.  If you are in school and are having trouble, tell your professor.

On another note, there are groups and websites out there you to meet other color blind photographers.  Here are a few:

Julieanne Kost posted a great tip for soft proofing in photoshop if you are a color blind photographer. You can read it on her Adobe blog.

Lastly, please don’t be shy.  Get in touch with me with any questions you might have about being a color blind photographer.  I’d gladly answer what I can.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting!


This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Not to split hairs, but you are probably color deficient, which is more commonly known as color blindness. I too am color deficient and near-sighted and too chicken to look into surgery. I often confuse light purple and blues, and certain shades of green and yellow. I often also can't see how bad red is in skin tones and have someone else look over them, yet I have found a solution. Well, soft of. The ability to be more creative in post with Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions, and clients needs to have more dramatic photos that film could never give has enabled me to "get by" in terms of being happy with my own work and satisfying customers needs. I wish I wasn't, however I make the best of it.

  2. It is very possible that you are correct. I go by what I have been told since I was young. My father was color blind to the point where so many colors messed together. It also goes past him too so it runs in my family.

    I appreciate your comments Mike!

  3. I had no idea, Scott. But that you've overcome that (with gracious help) just makes your photography that much more impressive. Most impressive. Thanks for sharing – great post.

  4. Visual difficulties should not preclude anyone from achieving in photography.Thanks for the link

  5. I’ve worn eyeglasses for most of my life and discovered my red/green color blindness (deficiency) late in college – during my first 10-week color photo course. Thanks for the resource links, I’ll be sure to check them out.

  6. Hi Scott, my boyfriend is a colorblind photographer and I would like to buy him a pair of Enchroma glasses for Christmas. I can only buy one pair and I am torn between the sunglasses in the glasses. At first I thought sunglasses because he shoots outdoors but then I realize that looking through the camera lens with sunglasses might be challenging. What would you suggest?

    1. I wouldn’t do sunglasses for that reason. Polarizes lenses make it hard to see screens and look through viewfinders.

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