25.01.2017

Working with colour

written by:
Rachel Stewart

25.01.2017

Working with colour

The use of colour in photography can be a tricky one. There is a fine line between making the colour in a photograph bold and really pop, and over saturating it so it becomes harsh and unrealistic. The same goes when it comes to more subtle colours, where the fine line is drawn at too much desaturation of an image.

People love colour, it speaks in so many ways and can draw the viewer in to an image. Colour is a seller, and most viewers of a photograph with the right amount of colour will be wowed.

Too many colours in an image can be confusing and sometimes will put the viewer off. Their eyes look at it but can find it over stimulating, so will move on.

With most of my images which are landscape, I try and have only one or two main colours, being in the sky and/or the foreground. The main colour (usually sitting behind the focal point in the image (mountain/person etc) I always try make sure is not too harsh. I have witnessed some incredible sunrises and sunsets over the past year.  During the edit process I like to try and make sure that these colours do not overpower the whole image, which can sometimes be difficult. In my opinion, orange can be a hard colour to work with, but as long it is not over saturated, it can really make an image complete. The same goes with red. Pastels are always very pleasing and are kind to the eye, as well moody greys and blues. I guess it is all about trying to find a balance, creating an image that has a good combination of colours but is smooth all around.

The warmth and coolness of an image can also play a big part in the mood of a photography. Warm subtle tones of orange and pink work well for those golden hour moments where the sun is casting light onto a landscape, and subtle cool tones work well with winter and slightly more moody scenes.

Having said all that, a lot of the time it is just working with what nature gives us, and composing an image from the scene that gives you the most balanced colours. This is something I look for every time when out in the field, as nature is the basis for the whole image.

Working with colour can seem daunting, but it can also be the crucial part that makes an image dramatic and a stand out. If you can incorporate some techniques that work for you, and some gut feeling, then I think there are some amazing images to be had.

 

Rachel Stewart

Rachel Stewart is a self-taught landscape, travel and adventure photographer based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.

With a passion for nature, art, adventure and exploring, Rachel’s photography can be characterized by her desire to seek out and find the beauty created by the natural world.

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