Color in photography combines art, science, and culture with your own personal style. It can make or break the mood of a scene. Color can tell stories and create atmospheres.
In film and digital photography, color is one of the key elements we use to create exciting and captivating images. But it’s not just about filling your images with bright colors. There’s more to it than that.
That’s why today’s article is all about using color in photography.
After being committed to black and white photography for some time, I crept out of my comfort zone and into the vibrant world of color photography. I’ve never looked back.
You might have your favorite colors. But it’s a good idea to be aware of some of the science and techniques of color photography to improve your knowledge and understanding.
Understanding color in photography and how color influences our photography can help your camera and post-processing skills.
Check out my top nine tips below to make your color photography really pop!
Learn the Basics of The Color Wheel
When it comes to color theory, the color wheel is the natural starting point. Studying the color wheel will help you understand different color schemes and color compositions.
It will allow you to make conscious decisions in your color photography. You can create images with harmonious and balanced colors. Or you can break the rules to create discord and imbalance.
I don’t always adhere to the color wheel with complete devotion. But my favorite color photographs tend to follow the rules.
Color organization systems have been around for hundreds of years. But Newton’s and Goethe’s color wheels are two of the most well-known.
The basis of the color wheel is the primary colors—red, yellow, and blue. Each color combines with its neighbor to create the secondary colors—green, purple, and orange.
Complementary Colors in Photography
The color wheel makes finding complementary colors easy. Select a color anywhere on the wheel. Then to find the color that complements it, look for the color that sits directly opposite.
A complementary color scheme has a bold impact. As both colors complement each other, the images feel vibrant and harmonious. The photos are visually appealing.
For example, the color that complements red is green. Yellow complements purple. And blue compliments orange. So we can see that primary colors complement secondary colors.
Analogous Color in Photography
An analogous color scheme displays three colors that are side by side on the color wheel. This is an ideal arrangement to use in landscape and nature photography to reveal subtle differences in tones and hue.
Without the strong contrast of the complementary scheme, analogous colors are often calming to look at. Analogous colors feel like they belong together. They blend with one another and create a sense of natural harmony.
Triadic Color in Photography
Triadic color schemes use three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel. A triadic color scheme makes for vivid images because they use three contrasting colors. Each color is clearly defined from the other, creating different points of interest.
These three colors schemes are the best place to get started with color in photography. Look for these schemes next time you’re out with your camera. You’ll start to see improvements once you consider color in photography.