How To Use Your Image’s Color To Make Certain Elements Pop

Photo by Robert Katzki on Unsplash

Color is one of the most defining aspects of an image. In the past photographic world of black and white, the introduction of color processing created a revolution in the visual space. Since the development of color photographs, the tonality and hues of an image have come to shape a creative’s eye, style and vision.

Color is an important component that can be used in various ways to change, enhance and alter the appearance of an image. When understanding how to photograph and post edit objects of definitive color, it is key to remember how it can effect your image. Here is how you can use your image’s color to make certain elements pop in your photos.

Use One Dominant Color

One way you can utilize color to make the elements in your image stand out, is to utilize the use of one singular color to focus the viewer’s attention to a specific object.

For example, if you want to highlight the color of a piece of clothing your subject is wearing, you can make your background neutral and let the clothing be the dominant color of your image.

This can also apply for various types of photography such as still life or food imagery. Let’s say that you are photographing a display of lemons. Lemons have the bright yellow appearance that instantly strikes on the page. By placing the lemons on a white surface, you are dulling the tones of the background in order to allow the color yellow act as the dominant tone in your image. In result, your image will pop and bring life to the scene.

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Employ the Use of Color Blocking

Another way that you can utilize color to make elements in your image pop is to use color blocking. Color blocking is the process of taking colors that are opposite of one another on the color wheel and pairing them together to make complimentary color combinations. This practice often results in dynamic and different tonal pairings.

An example of this would be to use the colors blue and yellow. For example, let’s say you are photographing your subject at the beach. By styling your subject in a yellow bathing suit and having them pose in the blue water, you are creating a subtle, yet effective display of color blocking. This practice will allow your subject to pop and stand out against the background all while creating a sense of heightened visual appeal.

Try this in practice by matching the color combinations of yellow/blue, red/green, orange/blue or purple/green in your images to see how these complimentary pairings change and define your image.

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash
Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

Add Repetition Of The Same Color

The final way that you can use your image’s color to make certain elements pop is to design your scene where every element is of matching color. This means that each object has the same color, but could differ slightly in tone, texture or pattern. As long as the overall color palette of the image is the same, this process is an effective visual technique.

By pairing the same colors together in one singular fashion, you are able to let your image’s color evoke a specific feeling to the viewer. Each color has a different feeling or idea associated with it. For example, the color yellow is meant to denote happiness and optimism as it is the brightest color of the visible spectrum. While the color red is thought to represent energy, strength, power, passion and love.

Since each color has its own psychological representation, it can be highly effective to utilize the same color for each of your objects and seamlessly pair them together. This is a guaranteed way to draw the eye of the viewer to your image and establish a definitive feeling and mood.

Photo by Matese Fields on Unsplash
Photo by Max Ostrozhinskiy on Unsplash

Utilizing your image’s color is an effective practice of establishing mood, tone and emotion for your viewer. Whether you are creating your own scene or finding patterns in every day life, it is important to visualize how colors work together to compose an image. Whether you use one singular color, the practice of color blocking with complimentary palettes or repetition of the same color, you can create dynamic, visual displays that allow your images to capture a viewer’s full attention.

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