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Colour can be a good enough reason to take a photo. We both went to art school and learnt all about colour harmonies which has influenced the way we bring colour in to our photos. Let's run through a few really basic ones to get the ball rolling. 

Firstly let's introduce you to the colour wheel! Isn't it pretty?

Within this pretty colour wheel are lots of different colour harmonies. Firstly we have the triadic colour harmonies, which is made up of the primary colours (red, yellow and blue) and the secondary colours (orange, green and violet). Have a look at them here.

A colour harmony we use a lot in our images, and a really simple one, is complementary colours. These are the colours that appear on the opposite side of the wheel. Have a click through here and see a few examples.

Let's have a look at some examples of photos with colour harmonies in them.

Here is a cute little example of a complementary colour harmony, with the pink and green. If this wall had been a boron colour it wouldn't have been worth taking the photo, it is purely the colour in this image that makes this photo interesting.

Sometimes we like to repeat patterns of colours in our photos as well as having the colour harmony in there. You can see in this photo how the colour pattern is repeated with the green and red of the trees and phone box and then the green and red on the flowers in the garden bed. It's a great way to keep the eye moving around the image.

Here is another cool example of repeating colours in the image. You can see the pink lines of the towel match the pink lines of the window frame. This is what makes this image work so well.

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This cute little love heart photo is has a complementary colour harmony of the red and the green. Having the green around the red really makes it pop!

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Sometimes you can never have too much colour. A good splash of crazy colour is always going to attract someone's eye. But as you can see in this pic, the girls outfits are mirroring the colours on the wall, so it adds some kind of pattern and symmetry in the craziness.

Yellow and violet/blue is the complementary colour harmony in this pic. Poor smashed car.

We also have our own colour harmony we have made up. We think that blue (cyan kind of blue) and pink (more magenta / hot pink) look awesome together. Chuck them in a photo together and see for yourself!

As you can see, colour can really be a great feature of your image. It can be the only feature, as long as it is pleasing on the eye. It can also turn heads if it makes a strong enough statement!


Homework Time

Find a colour harmony and shoot it, make sure you bring in other elements from what you've learnt in the previous lessons too! 

 

We don't do it often, as we do LOVE our colour, but sometimes you can go black and white. We find we use black and white more when we are having trouble correcting colour or if the image is over or under exposed. Black and white can be a little more forgiving, making the grain / noise a lot more subtle.

As you can see in this pic, the horses bottom are a little blown out (oops! poor horsey). But by making it black and white and pulling back the highlights this photo has been saved. Hi five Peta!

Kate turned this image black and white because he kitchen has a less than desirable colour scheme and tiles. She really just wanted you to focus on the steam from the percolator, not the fake terracotta and country theme border tiles.

This is a great example of how black and white really makes you focus on the emotion of the image and nothing else. If this image had been in colour you would have been distracted by the colours and patterns of the clothing instead of focussing on the cute and happy family. These are one of our fave kind of black and whites.

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There is another cool thing about black and white. It adds a real timeless quality to your images. This one was taken on our road trip, see how this could be anytime. I guess it does help that it was taken in an awesome car! A tip for when you are photographing your kids (and other people you can tell what to wear) is to dress them in unlogo-ed and unlicensed clothing. It will date and cheapen you photo in a flash!

Homework Time

So, black and white can show off graphic elements, emotions and cover up ugly colour schemes. Look out for a scene that screams "black and white" and shoot it!