Do you ever think about color when photographing? A lot of the time we photograph what appeals to us without a thought about color and its impact on a viewer; but what color can do to an image is amazing: it can make or break the photograph. We all know about the complementary colors: red and green, yellow and violet, orange and blue…but exactly how do these colors affect each other? When placed close together complementary colors create a vibrancy that elevates each color; this can have a dramatic effect in an image. Here are a few examples of complementary colors used in imagery:
It is important to remember certain characteristics of the primary colors:
Red: It is the hottest color and draws the eye more than any other color..hence, red stop signs and people wearing red coats in landscape images. If used in large amounts it can overwhelm a viewer with impact. Here is an example of the use of red to draw the eye to a certain area:
Another important thing to remember about color, especially when photographing seascapes or landscapes: warm colors advance while cool colors recede. The result of this will give dimension to an image; here is an example:
Another important point: yellows and oranges are warm fuzzy feeling colors; they evoke summer and sunlight …that’s why so many cereal boxes are yellow! People like warmer images as compared to cooler images: use this to your advantage; as an example, here is the same image with a warming filter and another as it was shot:
Remember, if you want to be more adept at using color successfully, try a project that I have done occasionally: for one week, shoot only for color. It’s not easy..I found that using a macro lens worked well, but I have also used a 70-200mm telephoto. The most important thing is to make an effort to understand the importance of color in your photographs.