A colour specialist or colour technologist is responsible for creating custom colours and may work in the hair colour and beauty industry. A colour specialist may also be employed in the digital and print photography industry, correcting and adding colour to photos, or in the paint industry, mixing paint for home and automotive use. As of 2014, colour technologist salaries start at £17,000 to £20,000 per year and move to around £35,000 a year for those with significant experience.
Hair colour specialist
A hair colour specialist may work in a salon, television, film production or theatre. A colour specialist is responsible for consulting with clients to discuss the client's hair colour requirements, in addition to providing advice and support regarding the appropriate colour palette, the health of the hair and scalp and the proper care of colour-treated hair. A hair colour specialist mixes colours and bleach to achieve the right shade according to the customer's tastes. He works with men and women of all ages to apply both temporary and semi-permanent colour rinse, dye, frost, tint or highlights.
Photo colour specialist
Photo colour specialists add or alter the colour in photos, video and film through digital technology or hand-applied painting techniques. A photo colour specialist may work in an artistic capacity to add specific areas of colour to highlight an image in a photograph or sharpen photos for advertising and marketing campaigns. She may also work to restore old photos to their original state, or she might add colour to black and white images for a modern, updated look. Photo colour specialists may also work within the film production industry, restoring old black and white films with a process called colorisation. Photo colour specialists may also work on new films to correct filming inconsistencies in the colour and light of a film.
Paint colour specialist
Paint colour specialists create custom paint colours for consumer and commercial use. He may use paint mixing techniques to match colours for consumer house paint or to match existing automotive paint for a car body repair centre. A paint colour specialist may also work with a paint production company to create colours for wall paint, vehicle paint, nail polish, make-up or artistic paints, such as oil paint and watercolours.
Working conditions for a colour specialist vary depending on the industry, but most positions require an individual to work a typical eight-hour work day with overtime as needed. Most colour specialists work on their feet and mix chemicals that may produce fumes. Photo colour specialists usually work seated in an office or studio setting and may not deal with chemicals when performing digital colour enhancements.
Regardless of the industry, a colour specialist must be trained to work with colour. Some companies may hire an individual as an apprentice or trainee who can learn how to work with colour on the job. Many beauty schools across the country train hair colour technicians, and many colleages offer vocational training in car paints and other paint chemicals.