Photo Tip & Assignment #21 – COLOUR
Following the Black & White assignment last month, let’s explore how we can use colour to capture striking images of the world as we see. Colour is a broad subject and the approaches for its use in photography are endless.
First of all, what is your favourite colour? According to research, 42% of people will say blue. Green comes next with 14% and red is the third most favourite colour with 8% of the votes.
The complex phenomenon of colour has received attention from the perspectives of physics, chemistry, physiology, psychology, linguistics and philosophy.
In art, or more specifically, in photography, colour can create contrast and also help us to evoke different feelings. How have such phrases as ‘green with envy’, ‘red with rage‘ or ‘the blues’ come about?
Warm colours such as yellow, orange and red, are said to arouse or stimulate the viewer, while cool colors, such as blue, violet and green, calm and relax.
Looking for a theme, we can focus on a single colour, for example: “Red in London”. This assignment can become an ongoing project, until you have enough images for a coffee table photo book. For inspiration, check out Magnum Photos’ podcast on Red here. You can also modify the assignment to make it more challenging by choosing “Anything BUT Red in Chinatown” for example.
After focusing on one colour only, the next step is combining colours on your images. The colour wheel can help you to find out what complementary (opposite to each other) colours and analogous (adjacent to each other) colours are.
Complementary colours create the strongest contrast and help reinforce each other (example: yellow boat and blue sea in the picture above). Analogous colours create a rich monochromatic look with one dominant colour and the colours that are next to it on the wheel (example: yellow, orange and red painted houses).
Settings on your camera that can help you control the colours are white balance (acts like a colour filter in front of the lens, warming it up and cooling it down) and hue/saturation (also on post-processing). Most SLRs and some other cameras have an option for “vivid” colours and toning filters such as sepia and cyanotype for a monochromatic look.
For more information about colour, this article has a short description of the basic colour harmonies. Another interesting website about colour associations.
Upload your COLOUR images to the Flickr Gallery: ASSIGNMENT #21 for a chance to win an Evening Workshop Voucher at LSP*. Deadline: 30/November/13
Photo and Text: Luciana Franzolin