Add an Element of Art Design Into Your Photos - Colours/Hues

July 10, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Aside from black and white photos, colour is of major importance in photography. Usually it is the colours in an image that capture a viewer’s eye and gives the first impression. For landscape photos, the colours or hues are provided by Mother Nature. The “golden hour” is preferred by landscape photographers as the hue of sunlight appears more reddish during this time. In other types of photography, how can colours be used to create more visually appealing images? As in art, the colour wheel and colour theory can be applied. 


For colour harmony in a photo, analogous colours can be used. These are any three hues that are side by side on the colour wheel. An example is “Crimson and Gold” where the three hues of red, orange and orange-yellow are present.

Crimson and GoldCrimson and GoldBottles filled with red and golden elixirs.

Another theory for colour harmony is that of complementary colours, in which two hues are on opposite sides of the colour wheel. In this photo “Together at Sunset”, the background colour of the sky was altered slightly in post-processing. The yellow in the lower portion matches the colour of the canoes, while the purple in the top portion is complementary to yellow. 

Together at SunsetTogether at SunsetKayaks at sunset.

A more vibrant combination is a triadic colour scheme, where the hues are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. For this theme, the three colours should be balanced such that one colour dominates with the other two as accents. For the “Pears” image, the triadic hues of red, green and blue create a strong visual image with red taking precedence.

PearsPearsColourful pears lined up on the runway.

You can apply the above (or other) colour theories when you are capturing images, or adjusting hues in post-processing software to design your fine art photos.


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