When we see a picture, we do not just see the compositional guidelines (such as lines and shapes), we also see the colors and knowingly or unknowingly we read the color harmony. Color can make or break a picture. Colours affect us in numerous ways, both mentally and physically. A strong red color has been shown to raise your heart beat, while a blue color has a calming effect. Being able to use colors consciously and harmoniously can help you create spectacular photographs.
Indian weddings are full of colours, moods and shades. So it is super critical for Indian wedding photographers or photographers of any genre to know the basics of colour photography. I started understanding colours out of curiosity, when Raghubir Singh‘s work was not meaningful to me. I am not the best judge of it, I am still learning and love to hear your opinion. Lets start with basics and over the time we can further deep dive in specifics.
Warmer colors are more intense than the cooler colors.
This is super important. Harmony tells you if the colors are working or not working together. In general, colours should not clash but enhance one another. Colour harmony is classified in to complementary colours, analogous colours and monochromatic colours. It can further broken into many advanced and complex schemes like Split-complementary color scheme, Square complementary colour scheme etc. I am not going there.
Before I continue, you need to know what is colour wheel. Colour wheel is a palette of colours. As per wiki definition “A color wheel or colour circle is an abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle, which shows the relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors etc.”
So, if your image has these colours schemes, your image will be more soothing to eyes, more pleasant but not necessarily that will make your picture powerful. What makes an image powerful is another topic and I will cover that later.
Colors that complement each other. Such as red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.
Colors those are next to each other in the color wheel. Such as green and blue.
One hue but many different values.
Photo by Steve McCurry: See the use of complementary colours, red and green.
Photo by Raghu Rai: See the use of complementary colour, blue and orange.
Photo by Sagarneel Biswas: See the use of complementary colour, blue and orange along with the rhythm of orange-0-orange.
Photo by Joseph Radhik: See the beautiful use of complementary colours red and green and analogous yellow and blue.
Photo by Tuhin Subhra Mondal: Yellow-pinkish red-yellow-pink in front of a maroon shaded wall. On top of it, observe the hands and heads movement.
Photo by Siva Haran: How a beautifully he composed this image, the bride in red and others with the purple. She is also standing in the front, taken over good portion of the frame to balance it well.
Photo by Joseph Radhik: perfect symmetrical composition with purple and yellow colour palette made this killer image.
Photo by Alex Webb: See the use of monochromatic colour scheme.
Photo by Joseph Radhik: Indigo and red…I don’t think, this one need any explanation.
I am still learning from all the masters and getting inspiration from my surrounding. I started by taking up exercise like, on the go, I will count how many red objects I have seen. Later it became more complicated like, count all analogous colours in a scene etc. The easiest way to see the colour is to see them everyday and call them in your mind, “I saw a red car in front of a yellow wall”. The toughest thing is to practice and practice it everyday and if you do it diligently, possibly one day it will become a part of your photographic reflex.
I believe that knowledge is useless, unless it is shared. It needs to spread. I love your comments. I seek inspiration from everywhere and I love to hear from you. May be I will get a new perspective from you. Let me know what is your point of view.
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