So how are we use Using color in photography?
Did you know that you can use a single color to grab the viewer attention?
When it comes to visual perception if light is the king, color will be the queen, or the king’s twin brother. When you know how to play with both, you will be able to present your work in endless ways and make your views feel as well as look.
By using mostly warm tones across the image the woman in blue pop’s as something different and immediately grabs the viewer attention.
So How do we use colors in photography?
While working with colors we are looking for achieve 3 main things:
- Create color harmony & feeling
- Create color contrast
- Attract viewers attention
Create color harmony:
Creating color harmony in photography involves combining colors in such a way that it feels visually pleasing and balanced. It’s about ensuring that the colors within a photograph work together cohesively, creating a sense of unity and aesthetic appeal. By using a palette of colors that is calm to the eye and give the image harmonious feel.
The easiest way to create harmony is by using colors that are at the same side of the color wheel.
Like in the image below – Most of the colors are desaturated versions of blue and purple, only the skin tone is brown therefore there is a big color contrast between the face and the background.
Color harmony by using single color:
You can create color harmony by using a majority of a single color across the image. You can see that in the examples below.
Color harmony by using warm colors only:
By using mostly warm colors across the entire image the photo feels warm and harmonious in terms of colors.
Create color contrast:
There are many ways to achieve that. Some of the popular color contrasts are:
- Hue Contrast: This type of contrast involves using colors that are distinctly different on the color wheel. For example, placing red next to green or blue next to orange creates a strong hue contrast.
- Value Contrast: It basically means how bright or how dark a certain color is. High color contrast occurs when light and dark colors are placed next to each other. It is very similar to the way you would simply work with light contrast
- Saturation Contrast: Saturation is the intensity of a color. Combining highly saturated colors with desaturated or muted ones is another way to create contrast.
- Warm-Cool Contrast: Warm colors (such as red, orange, and yellow) contrast with cool colors (such as blue, green, and purple).
- Quantity Contrast: This involves using different amounts of the same color to create variation. For instance, a small pop of a bright color against a predominantly neutral background can draw attention.
Hue + Warm-Cool contrast example:
- The use colors from opposite side of the color wheel. Like blue and yellow.
- The mix between warm and cold.
Quantity Contrast Example
Here are 3 tips on how to use color to grab the viewer’s attention:
Use a bright or saturated color in the scene: Bright or saturated colors will naturally stand out more than dull or muted colors.
This is classic .. How many times have you been hanging out with other photographers and it will come up in a way… Wow! Great frame, only if there was a woman in a red dress passing through.
The reason why photographers like women in red dresses in their photographs, it is because they simply pop. It’s an immediate attention hijack. That is how effective a bold color like red can be.
1. Use Color as a Focal Point:
Position the subject or the area you want to emphasize in the frame so that it’s surrounded by the chosen color. The color should frame, highlight, or surround the subject, making it stand out from the rest of the scene.
Completely surrounded by the color RED the monk and the two Chinese symbols
2. Minimize Other Colors:
Keep the rest of the scene relatively muted or neutral in terms of color. By minimizing competing colors, you ensure that the chosen color remains the primary focus.
Use a bright or saturated color in the scene:
Bright or saturated colors will naturally stand out more than dull or muted colors.
A way to implement colors in your travel photography.
During my last trip to Vietnam, I’ve found myself a game to play. I noticed that the women there tend to wear very colorful outfits, and the color combinations inspired me to create a small series that I would like to share with you. I would search for different color combinations and photograph them.
Next trip to Vietnam is in October. If you want to emerge yourself in colors check it out here.
Have your own tips about color? Add them in the comments section bellow