How To Make Better Use of Colour In Photography
GET CREATIVE WITH COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHY | Darrin Henry
So, colour photography, why does that need its own special mention? Each time I do, Sharon argues “colour photography is just, photography,” what am I making a fuss about?
There’s A Reward On Offer
Although photography was born in black and white; colour soon followed, but it’s been around so long now that today few people see it as something special. We live and experience the world in colour; it’s normal and in turn I think this means we now take the humble colour photo for granted.
The Facebook age swamps us in a sea of point and shoot imagery, most times with little thought to photographic principles and as a consequence we overlook how interesting colours could be. Not to mention a rewarding experience when it’s done well.
Black and white photography has taken occupancy of the snobbish high ground, constantly linked with words like ‘classic’ and ‘arty.’
But colour can be arty and classic – why not? With a little care it’s not too difficult to turn everyday ‘pics’ into awesome colour photography. There are opportunities everywhere bursting with colour content, we just need to look a little more closely.
Here are a few tips and ideas for injecting some colour pop into your pictures.
Use of Colour In Photography, Tip 1 – Planning
Include colour in your photography planning.
In other words, the first stage is usually spotting the shot, ie a beautiful flower, impressive architecture or a shiny, sleek sports car. Hopefully you normally then plan an angle; crouching low or jumping onto a bench for a good viewpoint.
But now, include a colour check in your planning – what are the colours in the shot? How do they catch the light or contrast with a change of angle? How does one colour line up against the other?
Use of Colour In Photography, Tip 2 – Choose Domination
Colours that blend together easily are more suited to colour photography. Similar shades or block colours that dominate a scene are less suited to black and white. Non contrasting colours, eg blue, green and red dominating a frame tend to work better in colour.
Use of Colour In Photography, Tip 3 – Isolation Is Good
Isolate colours within your composition. Try to simplify the colour combinations in the same frame. A bold colour against a drab background gives good colour pop. When the subject is defined by its colour, flowers for instance or the fabric of a dress, try to isolate the object against a neutral background.
Use of Colour In Photography, Tip 4 – Shoot With The Shadows
Finally, as a general rule when outdoors, shoot early or late in the day; avoid the two to three hours either side of midday. If you read our post about why shadows are key to great landscape photography, this might help. It’s also worth keeping in mind that lighter colours tend to ‘blow out’ in stronger light, so more reason to choose the time of day carefully.
As always, don’t get blinkered by the rules – experiment and go against conventional thinking when it feels right; this is just a base to build on. Hopefully you’ve been inspired to pay more attention to colour in your pictures. You may also want to check out our tips and guidelines on how to shoot good black and white photography if that’s more your thing.
We’d be interested to know which style you prefer.