8 Ways to Pop-up Photos with Colors

Shilpa Ingle
5 Min Read

Colors Rule ME & have a great impact on me. In photography too, I happen to find stories through colors to communicate on an emotional level. A bit difficult to notice but I feel Color is one of the main factor responsible for making a photo feel exciting, lively, mysterious or moody or a little flat too. Sky Blue here inspires feelings of trust & the sunshine yellow uplifts & illuminates denoting confidence helping to build a story around the click.

We Photographers always start with the technicalities of the camera. Of course, how could you take a picture if you didn’t understand how the camera works. You learn about the exposure triangle & the three pillars: ISO, Aperture &  Shutter Speed. Then you might learn about composition & the rule of thirds.

But the most successful photographs  have a clear, consistent brand style. The style is like a photographer’s fingerprints,  each one is unique. But no one ever talks about is color. How does color affect the mood or make your photos pop? Colors have the potential to combine Art & Science which together cultivate to form creations with our own personal likings. Colors are story-tellers. They make a mood and break the rules.

In photography we tend to be drawn to certain colors automatically. And create variety of combinations by mixing science in field & techniques while post processing.

I would like to share 8 Simple Tips while using colors in photography.

Colors Compose Photographs!

Color is an often under utilizes aid to composition. Yet when used in proper combination with other principles of photography has the potential to create striking images. Train your eyes to search for such contrasting colors & apply them with simple rule like third and just watch the result.


Colors Rotate Round the Wheel!

If at all you get stuck on which, how & what colors to start with, simply embrace the color wheel! Working with color theory in photography creates harmonious & balanced image.

I don’t always stick to the color wheel with complete devotion, however my favorite color photographs tend to simply follow the rules.

Newton’s and Goethe’s color wheels are two the most well-known. There’s a whole science behind color theory. Here are few of the schemes to explore:

Colors Extract Boldness!

Deep saturated colors are real strikers. Keeping a simple composition and adding bold colors create great impact.


Colors Calm the Moods!

Pastel colors when used I photograph create a subtle look. Many a times light is low or soft & sometimes it doesn’t create shadows too. Such light can give a soothing feel to the image. For example in genres like flower photography, portraiture or waterfalls.


Colors Induce Emotions!

Colors are as intense as our heart & have the power to change our mood. And therefore they help in creating stories in photography.

For example:

  1. Red symbolizes love, energy, passion & anger
  2. Orange gives warmth, joy & vigour
  3. Yellow vibrates liveliness & creativity… and so on.

When used properly, colors can actually make you feel the photograph.


Color Balances Light

Light does have a specific color. The light cast by a sunrise or a night pole or a candle lit will bestow a warm effect. While the light cast by moonlight or a rainy day will show blue & cool effect. Keep experimenting with camera’s white balance. Cloudy mode creates a beautiful mushy warm tone. Eg. In Portraits & Sunrise. Colder light Balance creates a mystic effect giving a cool impact. Eg. Winter landscapes, cloudy skies & waterfalls.



Colors are Dominating!

By using one color gives a dominating effect to the photograph. Sometimes color itself becomes the main subject & beautiful abstracts too can be created by such trick.


Colors Render Personalities

Being able to use color to create harmony or a tension in a scene does create a spectacular effect. Its gives cinematic look for Portraiture. These days color grading is the new trend and has become very famous post-processing method used for photographs.


Conclusion: To make  impactful color photographs deliberately search for colors. Give it equal importance & weight as composition & framing. Also play around with colors while post processing. Train your eyes to search for colors and apply them with the photography principles. And then just watch the result.

When Science & Art join hands they have the history of creating magic. Let the magic happen!!!!

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Nice info and well explained with photographs