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Color in Photography

Colour – blimy what for? It's is one potato, two potato, three potato, four, now we need 24 million more. The eye is complex and not very well understood, except that the eye can detect over 24 million colors. Each potato is red, green, blue, and so forth.

Tulip Colour Photo

When taking photos, I use the highest level and number of colors that all of my equipment can support. This typically means at least a JPEG image at maximum capacity, and when I.m working in Photoshop I also save the psd file since it contains the entire original and the fitted colors.

I seldom shoot back and white. Many of my pictures appear black and white but it is the scene, intense snow storms or fog that creates only black and white images.

I love color in photgraphy and that is why a major portion of my photos are flowers. These by far are the most colorful things in nature, and it's a good thing. Bees and butterflies would never find a green flower in a green field of grass. Nature works these things out; all we need to do is capture the rhythm of the color and the insight it may bring.

Color is a hard subject, it is easy to define the physics of color wavebands, but to define the composition of a picture using color is most challenging.

Sometimes simple colors on black backgrounds create stunning effects. Let’s look at the tulip below.

Tulip Photo by Russ Sexton

Wow what a tulip. Using 2 million candle powers to back light the tulip produces a lumisaint quality. Is the picture about the tulip or is it color? I think it is about color.

Color in Photography: Emotions
Each color is suppose to produce an emotion; Green is clam, red is intense, and the list is as varied as the source you find to define the emotions. But, the one thing I do know is that intense primary colors create great interest to a degree that people will stand and peer into the photo to find something.

Use your primary colors well, it is an eye catcher. I have noticed this over and over again at each show I give.

Posters of a primary colors on black and sometimes on white can create a walkway through a room that leads viewrs right to the photograph. So, placement of your primary colors in a show can lead your guests across a room, past many interesting photos that they will also stop to see.

Color in Photography: Natures Colors
The basic colors of nature are also very good eye candy, blue sky’s, green foreground, or maybe black foreground, and with a colorful middle produces intense imagery that viewers will stop to comprehend. If people stop to look, or walk across a room, they may want it above their sofa.

These pictures of color also are easy to create and manipulate in Adobe Photoshop.

I think most photographers notice clouds first on a blue sky day. Why? Because it is a primary color. Many photo sites on the internet will have a section totally dedicated to clouds, flowers, oceans, etc. These are spaces of pure primary colors.

Grab that camera, what is the most colorful thing next to you? This could the tacks, pin heads, golf tees, pencils, flowers, or the clouds against the blue sky above.

Try a composition considering the colors, do they from a rhythm, a repeating sequence of color? Look close and study the color.

But by far the most interesting sky color is created at sunset and sunrise. The reds and yellows of a sunset are intensive and the clouds can form a fabric of texture and interest. Let's looks at a sunset and a then a sunrise.

Ocean Sunset Phot by Russ Sexton

A rain storm at sea, Wow the blues, blacks, yellows and reds bleeding in magenta. This is my favorite sunset picture - to see the rain pouring from a thunderstorm with the sun defining the rain. Incredible!

Another of my favorites is a sunrise picture taken in the fog of August on a very hot Alabama morning.

Sunrise in the Woods Photo by russ Sexton

The fog became red with the sunrise and a feeling of the summer heat can be felt. Fog, rain, snow are great medium’s. The next time it rains, find a light ray shinning through, you will have award winning photo every time. To get great imagery, sometimes being an early riser makes the difference, but the sunsets are as spectacular so don’t worry. There is one everyday of the week.

Color in Photography: Noticing Colorful Objects around you
I was in Oregon and walked into a tourist shop and found bin after bin of color. These never won any awards but I do enjoy them as much as my winners.

Bin of Dice Phot by russ Sexton

Below is a photo from a time I was walking the beach and I noticed that a stand of kayaks created a great rhythm of color.

Kayaks Phot by Russ Sexton

The kayaks were standing vertical, but I liked running the lines diagonally and cutting off the tips to create a more abstract concept.

Color in photography is fun, it creates interest, grab that camera, start is something and try colors. Have fun, start snapping, and be happy. ~ Russ.

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