Ever heard of Roy G. Biv? He’s not a crazy musician or an eccentric actor, actually it’s not even a person at all. ROY G BIV is an acronym used to describe all the colours that commonly make up a rainbow- Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo and Violet. When it comes to photography, colour is a huge compositional tool that can help create impact as well as set the mood in your shot. So it’s important to know the characteristics of different hues in order to use them effectively.
Some quick tips for using colours in composition:
- WARM COLOURS (Red, Orange, Yellow): These colours will advance or move forward in a composition. They suggest the idea of energy and excitement. Red can seem angry while orange has a very strong visual presence and can be used to draw the eye to a specific object. Yellow is bright and suggests youth.
- COOL COLOURS (Blue, Green): These colours will recede in a composition and might be useful in a background. Cool colours can often give off a sense of calm and peacefulness in a image. Blue and green are associated with nature.
- The viewer’s eye will look at saturated areas of colour first. Use bold colours for your main subject so that it stands out
- Using contrasting colours can create separation between the subject and the background in a very dramatic way
- Selective colour is another way to make a subject pop (for example a red mailbox on a white wall)
In the example below, the bold yellow ring of light stands out because it is the brightest and most saturated part of the image. It advances toward the viewer while being contrasted against a cool background of blue which recedes.
Photo by Heinz Riemer, http://viennacc.blogspot.ca/2013/07/photography-colour-contrast-making-most.html
The next couple examples are good indicators of mood based on colour. The blue image looks cool, calm and tranquil while the orange landscape seems hot and more lively.
Photo by afi4one, http://abstract.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/83402/comments
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