Colour and Photography

 

We live, eat, sleep, work and relax in colour. Our worlds are profoundly influenced by colour. We feel in colour and experience life in colour. So, we need to use colour to the best of our ability and create images reflecting this. Understanding and controlling colour is fundamental as you learn digital photography.

 

colour in photography

"Blue Mask" captured by Matt Marquez 

1. Reflect mood with colour

We are emotional creatures and feel in colour. Black with rage, green with envy, blue from the cold, white as a sheet and we have golden memories. Colour reflects our memories as with orange sunsets and cool blue mornings. Green represents growth and health while red is aggressive and full of energy. Try to capture mood in your images by using colour.

2. Make colour your subject

Choose a colour and shoot it by making it the dominant subject. Isolate that brightly painted door or window. Choose a subject with a simple design or shape but with bold colours on a neutral background for dramatic effect.

3. Create harmony

Choose colours that lie next to each other on the colour wheel and shoot them together. Nature is full of this harmony with greens and yellows creating wonderfully complimentary images. Autumn is a great time to shoot colour harmony with all the yellows, browns and oranges that dominate autumn scenes.

 

colourful insect

"Thirsty" captured by Debra Vanderlaan

4. Photograph muted colours

This works especially well where there are high contrast scenes as these lend themselves to muted colour. This is more monochromatic where there appear only to be two colours in the scene that don’t dominate. Use soft or diffused light that isn’t harsh. Overcast days are great for shooting muted colours.

5. Shoot contrasting colours

Colours that are opposite each other on the colour spectrum wheel are called contrasting and result in amazing shots. Shooting that bright red flower against a green results in an amazing image. This makes the colours appear bolder and more saturated and lifts the subject off the background.

6. Use accents

By choosing a scene that is quite monochromatic and then isolating a splash of colour creates a dynamic image. Almost as if you have removed all the colour and except for the subject. Subjects like a bright umbrella or flower against a simple background really work.

 

landscape colour

"London Eye" captured by Giovanna Tucker

 

7. Emphasize patterns with colour

Repetitive shapes shot in colour make the scene dynamic. Straight lines of red coated soldiers make dramatic images that appear to add movement to the photo. By cropping the photo you can create an image made up solely of colourful patterns.

Using colour will always add a dynamic element to your images so make use of it often. Allow it to dominate and hit you in the face. We are people of colour so use it. Happy shooting!