A great way to make your photograph look attractive is to make it pop! One of the best ways of making your photo pop is to use eye catching colors your image. Those colors will have even more impact when paired with a contrasting color, so in this article, we’ll look at how you can apply this idea. There is a simplicity to these kind of photos, and learning which colors pair well together will help a lot. Let’s take a look at contrast, and color contrast photography to see why this works.
Red and blue, one of the strongest color contrasts, was used in this still life.
Why does contrast work in photography?
Opposites work well together in an artistic sense, concepts like old versus new are good photographic subject matter. One of the simplest forms of contrast is black and white, which is why photographs that were taken in this style look so effective. The best black and white photos often have strong contrast which makes them stand out.
The aim of many photos is to isolate your subject, and by doing so, tell a story. The use of contrast is one way you can isolate a subject from the background, or bring out a strong repeating pattern in a texture photo. It’s also possible to have color contrast as well, but only certain color combinations work well together.
The warm glow of street lights against the blue hour sky is a color contrast.
What is color contrast photography?
Getting color contrast is a bit more complex than it is with black and white photography. Color can be broadly split into two groups, cold colors, and warm colors. Color contrast happens when a cold color is paired with a warm color. You can also use complementary colors – that is when warm colors and cold colors (opposite on the color wheel) are in the same photo.
An easy way to visualize this is by looking at a color wheel, which shows colors that are opposite each other. It’s not uncommon to see color contrast occurring naturally in nature with things like fruits and flowers often displaying this concept. The classic color contrasts are yellow/purple, red/green and orange/blue. Using the color wheel can you come up with some yourself and apply them to your images?
Using this wheel you can see which colors are opposite each other. Image credit Todd Weed. Creative commons.
How to take photos that have color contrast
The world is full of color, but it’s often a mess of many different colors. So how do you go about taking photos that have color contrast, if there are so many other colors in the frame? The following are ideas you can use to do color contrast photography.
Finding a good location
Look for places with a solid color, walls often provide this. A red brick wall can contrast against green or blue colors. In some neighborhoods you might find a wall that has been painted blue or wood paneling that is a particular color. Artistic areas of town are often good hunting grounds. Once you have a strong color background you will need to find something or someone that has the contrasting color.
The vendor knew to lay out their wares using color contrast to attract more customers.
Create your own color contrast
Color contrast photography is creative, so how about creating your own contrasts? This could mean asking a model to wear a particular color of clothes, or you can create still life photos that display color contrast. A quick trip to a local crafts store to buy colored paper will allow you to play with contrast.
In this photo, the opposing colors of purple and green have been used.
Finding color contrast in nature
Flowers, especially orchids, have natural color contrast, meaning you don’t need to create it yourself! Another subject with strong colors are fruits, so head to the market and see if you can find contrasting colors with the food on display!
The strong color contrast of red and blue gives this street scene more impact. Even the stalls are red and blue.
Let’s see your examples of color contrast photography
The world is much better in color, so let’s see examples of your photos! The chances are you already have some photos of this type in your archive. So which color combinations worked best for you? When you next challenge yourself to try something new with your photography how about using color contrast as a central theme? Go out and get some new photos, post them here, and share your experiences! This is a fun form of photography that anyone can try no matter what camera you’re using, so let’s see some color contrast photography!
When you next challenge yourself to try something new with your photography how about using color contrast as a central theme? Go out and get some new photos, post them here, and share your experience in the comments section. This is a fun form of photography that anyone can try no matter what camera you’re using, so let’s see some color contrast photography!
The yellow wall makes the women who are wearing blue stand out more.
In this photo, the color contrast was created. I used a pixelstick to paint first in red, then in blue.
The post How to Make Your Photos Stand Out Using Color Contrast by Simon Bond appeared first on Digital Photography School.