In books like this there will always be discussions on color. There are many things that effect color. We prepare the plates that I think correctly match reality as I see it. I factor in several things such as the monitors I am using. Changing contrast and the amount of sharpening also has an effect on appearance. I eventually settle on what I think is accurate. An artist (painter) does the same. Then we lose control i.e. it is in the hands of others. Artwork will be scanned – no doubt with the artists fingers crossed (they have even less control than a photographer because there is an extra step to turn it into a digital file). Then it goes to the printers where using 4 colors of paint they can hopefully do a fantastic mix and all the colors will come out perfect. Of course we didn’t mention type of paper – some needing less ink to absorb into the paper to create the desired color – some say resulting in a higher contrasting image. There are still debates in the printing business about which d.p.i. (dots per inch) produces the best image.
Hopefully you can get where I am going with this. Even getting white paper is a problem because it has to be bleached so making it more expensive. It is a complicated process with several steps and all that, like it or not, will not be exactly the same as what we started with. This is simply reality. Things have come a long way in recent times but are still improving. For those experts on color, please try to remember the above.
Next on the color issue is backgrounds and contrast. People like highly contrasting images. They are more striking to the eye and easier to interpret. These photos always sell well. Pale backgrounds work great, particularly when the bird, mammal or other subject is dark. So why did I do so many darker backgrounds. The answer is because they are more lifelike. Take a look around and you will see most things are dark – trees, plants, grasses, water, earth etc. Some are pale, but not many. Birds are designed to blend into this background. So while it would have been nice to put funky bright backgrounds with high contrast (my house is decorated with the brightest colors and paintings) it would be less lifelike.