Color is one of my favorite visual stimuluses:
The fascinating thing about colors and photography:
There is an infinite way color can be expressed.
- Color-combinations and coordinations of colors
- Colors you discover in the streets
- The way you post-process colors, or the way that color is rendered into film (or any other medium)
- The randomness of color
- The emotions that I get from color
One of my favorite places for color — Mexico City:
How to discover colors/shoot better color photos
- The camera you use is important. Certain cameras/sensors express colors differently. For example, I’ve been able to obtain this lovely high-saturation color via the RICOH GR II by using flash, shooting in ‘positive film’ preset, and by post-processing the images using Lightroom. To exaggerate colors, I played especially with ‘blacks’, ‘whites’, and ‘contrast’ sliders.
- Generally speaking, I’ve discovered the best color-combinations/grit is from older neighborhoods — where you can find more peeling paint, and generally in more ‘ghetto’ neighborhoods. Also, the benefit of shooting in back-alleys. A city that was VERY colorful (I didn’t expect) was Denver, Colorado (my new favorite American city).
- Post-process your photos based on your taste, and keep processing your photos until they look the way you want them to look! Once you’ve discovered a certain technique, camera-equipment/setup that you like– stick with it for a while!
How to best present your color works
For myself, I really delight in using the ’tiled galleries’ function in wordpress.org (what runs this blog).
Also the new function in wordpress is that you can display your photos ‘full width’; which creates a much more immersive online photo-viewing experience for color images.
Are there such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ colors/”ideal” color-combinations?
I think ultimately all colors are subjective. To me, what interests me about color is the PROPORTIONS of colors in a frame.
To analyze deeper, let us inspect some of these photos.
First photo is this blue/red photo:
This is what I see:
And the yellow line demarcates the center of the frame:
And here is the rule of thirds grid applied:
And with a gaussian blur filter applied:
Technically if I colored in the areas (using the Photoshop ‘Eyedropper’ (I) tool and the ‘Polygonal Lasso’ tool (L) — this is what it looks like:
So for myself, it seems interesting that these color-abstract images are just a blend of different colors and proportions of color in the frame.
Think about proportions
Ultimately I think photography composition and color (and abstract art) can be distilled into proportions:
- Proportions of a certain color vs another color in the frame.
- Placement of visual elements within the frame
- How the frame is sub-divided.
Let this lead your photo composition forward!