Taking Better Photographs - Color

By Kent

Color wheelOne way to make your vacation photographs more interesting is the careful use of color in your compositions. With color, you can create an image that contains visual interest aside from the representational elements of the subject matter.

One method is to look for complementary colors. Simply put, complementary colors are those colors opposite one another on a color wheel. When positioned in a photograph next to each other, each color makes the other appear brighter. Look for shots where red and green, yellow and purple, or blue and orange are found together. Photographs containing this type of visual contrast are not only more interesting, they can also highlight a particular subject. For example, if your subject is a person wearing a red shirt, position them in front of a green tree. Even at a distance, the shirt will nearly jump out of the photograph. It's this color contrast that catches your eye.

Similar to the use of complementary colors, is the use of analogous colors. This means that the colors are near each other on the color wheel. When presented near to each other in a photograph, they work together in a harmonious sort of way. Look for things containing red, orange, and yellow; green, blue, and purple; or yellow, yellow-green, and green when you wish to include a soothing effect in your photograph.

A final method of using color is the idea that colors can be associated with warmth and coolness and that they can convey a mood. The warm colors are yellow, red, and orange. Not only do they convey a feeling of warmth, the can also project emotional warmth and excitement. The cool colors include blue, green, and violet, which we associate with ice and snow. These colors tend to project peace and calm, as well as a feeling of coolness. Turn to the warm colors in sunsets and campfires, and the cool colors for shaded waterfalls when you want to capture emotions.

Watch for opportunities to use color. You'll soon find that your friends will clamor to see your vacation photographs. Well, maybe that's stretching it a bit, but you will see a dramatic improvement in the interest of your pictures.

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