The Impact of colours on photographs

Some colours just launch themselves out of a photograph than others. The most powerful of all the hues is without a doubt red. Just a tiny splash of crimson in an image is enough to draw the eye. Using this trick to your advantage can have strong results. A red object such as a rose in the foreground of your composition can transform an otherwise uninspiring photograph into a great one.

Red Poppy Field
Red Poppy Field

Others colours that are capable of this same effect are yellows and pinks. Often a subject works well in photographs because of the use of these vivid hues. Often an identical object in a more neutral colour will leave the image looking very ordinary and without a central feature.

Luckily a photographer can deliberately seek out these colours and use them to create a composition. Even if it’s as simple as asking a model you are photographing to wear a pink scarf as opposed to a blue one.  Seek red objects to add to an image instead of a grey. Used well, this trick can add a strong focal point to your picture however you have to be careful to avoid detracting from the main focus of the shot if the focus is not the red/pink/yellow feature.

This same rule works well when selecting a photograph to display such as print on canvas, or if you are buying artwork. You might experiment with a series of three images for example, with one being red and the other two less striking colours. The two, less vibrant panels will lead the eye to the central image causing a striking and memorable overall effect.

Just as some colours, such as reds and yellows scream out to be noticed, others tend to recede into the distance. Blues and greens, for example, often appear to blend into the background.  Combining colours from these dominant and recessive groups can be a powerful way of adding more depth and drama to your pictures.

Choosing Pairs of colours to create impact has to be done with care, there is always the danger that they will clash. The best effect is usually achieved by combining complementary colours. Pairing Red and Green is a potent combination, as is Orange and Blue, or purple and yellow.

Unfortunately photographers can rarely be as fussy with the palettes as painters – it is usually simply just a case of noticing when two colours in a scene complement each other well and taking the photograph in such as way as to pair the two. The blues of the sea and the skye are often a useful backdrop as they provide a recessive, non-competing, and extensive backdrop against which to frame brightly coloured subjects.

This article is brought o you by Blue Horizon Printing, experts in printing photographs onto canvas and transforming a good photo into a great work of art. . or 1300 632 332.

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