Colorful landscape photography is all about capturing the beauty of nature. And one of the best ways to make your photos more vibrant is by using colors effectively.
And to use color more effectively, there are a few things you should know. Continue reading to learn how to use color theory to your advantage.
How to Use Color Theory in Colorful Landscape Photography
Here are 10 tips for colorful landscape photography.
1. Get Into Color Theory
Color in photography plays an important role. It determines how we perceive an image. Color theory analyzes colors and their relationships with one another.
Colors have different psychological associations. (We’ll take a look at those later). Different combinations of color determine how we comprehend a photograph.
Understanding color theory allows you to predict and identify successful applications of color. You’ll get better at creating images with emotional depth and visual interest.
2. Understand Color Theory and the Landscape
Since the invention of color photography, color dictates how we perceive a photograph. Color theory allows photographers to assess colors and their relationship to each other.
In landscape photography, the subject matter can be monochromatic. Other scenes run the full visible spectrum.
Color theory allows landscape photographers to harness the makeup of a landscape. You’ll figure out what harmonizes or disrupts an image before you take the image. This saves you time. And it also helps you create better images.
3. Check out the Color Wheel
So what are color relationships? Enter, the color wheel.
It dates back to the 18th century and it’s still used by visual artists today. The color wheel is a simple visualization of colors and their connection with each other.
Within the color wheel contains all the colors in a readable format. It has primary colors (red, yellow, and blue). And secondary colors (purple, orange, and green). And tertiary colors (vermilion, amber, chartreuse, teal, violet, and magenta).
All creative applications of color exist within the color wheel. This allows photographers to refer to the tool as a handy guide. Here is a version below.
Familiarize yourself with the color wheel. You’ll understand how colors interact when placed close to each other.
This is the bedrock of color theory. It’s the visual basis on which effective color relationships are founded.
4. Get to Know Complementary Colors
Complementary colors lie opposite each other on the color wheel. They create the strongest contrast possible when used together.
They cause a visual vibration when they’re near each other and make an image pop.
Incorporating complementary colors into landscape photography creates eye-catching contrast. It presents a unique insight into the duality of an environment.
5. Split Complementary Colors
These are a variation of the complementary color scheme. Split complementary colors pair a base color with the two colors next to its complementary color.
Vermilion, (whose complementary color is teal), is grouped with green and blue instead.
A split complementary color scheme produces colors with adequate contrast. But they have greater subtlety than complementary colors.
6. Play With Analogous Colors
Analogous colors neighbor each other on the color wheel. Analogous schemes like teal, blue, and violet flow into one another. They create harmony in an image.
In landscape photos, you can use analogous groups like autumnal reds, vermilion, and oranges. Or marine greens, teals, and blues. These create depth and visual resonance.
7. Try Triad Colors
Triad colors are any three colors that are spaced three colors apart on the color wheel. A selection of red, yellow, and blue or orange, purple, and green are triad groupings of color.
In landscape photography, triad colors generate harmonious yet eye-catching color schemes.
They enhance the dynamic relationship between colors in the natural environment.
8. Fire up With Warm Colors
Color theory describes the relationships between individual colors. And it groups them by their visual atmosphere.
The concept of warm and cool colors has influenced visual art since at least the late 18th century.
Warm colors are hues from red to yellow. These include the often-forgotten shades of brown, which are prominent in landscape photography.
Associated with sunlight and heat, warm colors appear closer to the viewer. This stimulates a sense of immediacy and visual activity.
In landscape photography, warm light is often best encountered during golden hour. This is the time of day that renders the landscape in immersive, warm tones.
9. Chill out With Cool Colors
Like warm colors, cool colors have properties and associations linked to their presence. Cool colors tend to diminish into the background of an image. This makes the surrounding space appear larger.
Cool-colored landscape photography has a sense of peace, quiet, and reflection.
10. Figure out Feelings
Color and emotion are inextricably linked. Color theory studies the relationships between colors. It can also examine how our behavior is shaped by the 7 million shades discernible to the human eye.
The viewer relies on color as a visual cue to convey the emotional climate of the photograph. You can use this to create interest and emotional weight in your landscape images. Colors can also help hint at the weather or season you took your photo in.
Here are some popular landscape colors and the emotions they evoke.
A calming color, blue illustrates the expanse of a landscape. It inspires awe and generates visual space.
As a cool color, purple has a calming effect. Rare in nature, purple has become associated with exoticism and beauty.
Green is one of the most abundant colors in landscape photography. That’s because it manifests in organic life. Its cool tones create peace and tranquillity.
Orange is often encountered in the sunsets of landscape photography. As a warm color, orange inspires happiness and passion.
Browns in landscape photography illustrate the earth. Brown is a visual anchor. It shows a viewer the condition of an environment.
Yellow is found in flowers, agricultural landscapes, deserts, and autumn leaves. It inspires happiness, energy, and awe.
Landscape photographers work within a very diverse genre of photography. There is no single factor to dictate the positive outcome of a landscape image. But color theory is a tool that can significantly boost the impact of a photograph.
Color theory explores the whys and hows behind the colors in a photograph. Become familiar with the fundamentals of color theory. If you do, you’ll capture photographs with greater efficiency and success.
Check out our Simply Stunning Landscapes course to take your colorful landscape photography to the next level!