Saturday, November 29, 2014

Colorful world in photography: A bit of color theory.

"Color is life; for a world without colors appears to us as dead." — Johannes Itten.

Color theory has a variety of definitions and concepts. However, there are two basic categories of color theory that are useful for a photographer: the color circle and the color harmony.

The color wheel (or color circle) is an abstract tool which organizes color hues around a circle and shows relationship between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, etc.


Artists typically use RYB color model with red, yellow and blue primary colors. Printers use RGB color model with red, green and blue primary colors. The modern color model includes cyan, magenta and yellow as primary colors.

We’ll use traditional color wheel which have red, blue, yellow as primary colors; secondary colors which are the combination of two primary colors: red + yellow = orange, yellow + blue = green, blue + red = purple; tertiary colors are the combination of a primary and secondary color (red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet).

Harmony in general can be defined as a pleasing combination of elements in a whole.
Color harmony represents a balance of colors which is pleasing to the eye.
We can create color harmony using the color wheel.

Monochromatic harmony uses various values (tints, tones, and shades) within the same color family (hue – pure color; tint – hue + white; tone – hue + grey; shade – hue + black).

Analogous harmonies are based on three or more colors that are next to each other on the color wheel (for example: yellow-green + green + blue-green).
Make sure you have enough contrast when choosing an analogous color scheme. Usually one color dominates, the second supports and the third color is used as an accent.

Complementary colors are colors that are opposite of one another on the color wheel (yellow and purple, blue and orange, red and green). Such a combination of colors is often used in art; the complementary colors appear brighter together than solo or in other combinations.
"Complementary colors make a strange pair. They are opposite, yet they require each other. They incite each other to maximum vividness when together; and annihilate each other when mixed", — wrote Johannes Itten.


Fill up your life and your photography with colors!
Pass this information forward. Share it with others :)
Cheers!