In color photography, electronic sensors or light-sensitive chemicals record color information at the time of exposure.
This is usually done by analyzing the spectrum of colors into three channels of information, one dominated by red, another by green and the third by blue, in imitation of the way the normal human eye senses color.
The recorded information is then used to reproduce the original colors by mixing various proportions of red, green and blue light (RGB color, used by video displays, digital projectors and some historical photographic processes), or by using dyes or pigments to remove various proportions of the red, green and blue which are present in white light (CMY color, used for prints on paper and transparencies on film).
Color photography has been the dominant form of photography since the 1970s, with monochrome photography mostly relegated to niche markets such as art photography.
Color photography was attempted beginning in the 1840s.
Early experiments were directed at finding a "chameleon substance" which would assume the color of the light falling on it.
Some encouraging early results, typically obtained by projecting a solar spectrum directly onto the sensitive surface, seemed to promise eventual success, but the comparatively dim image formed in a camera required exposures lasting for hours or even days.
A circa 1850 "Hillotype" photograph of a colored engraving.
Long believed to be a complete fraud, recent testing found that Levi Hill's process did reproduce some color photographically, but also that many specimens had been "sweetened" by the addition of hand-applied colors.
The first color photograph made by the three-color method suggested by James Clerk Maxwell in 1855, taken in 1861 by Thomas Sutton.
The subject is a colored ribbon, usually described as a tartan ribbon.
An 1877 color photographic print on paper by Louis Ducos du Hauron, the foremost early French pioneer of color photography.
The overlapping yellow, cyan and red subtractive color elements are apparent.
Color photography is photography that uses media capable of reproducing colors.