Using Color in Photography to Evoke Emotions

According to color psychology, colors affect our visual perception and can evoke an emotion or create a mood. There are colors that we gravitate to and others that we dislike. Certain shades and hues can influence us in our decisions. The world of interior design, clothing, and art are just a few areas where the use of color is carefully considered. Color is a very powerful tool and when applied to photography, it can greatly influence how we feel as we gaze at an image.

Certain colors can make the viewer feel certain emotions. Let us look at some hues that are often used in photography to convey a specific mood:

Blue – images with predominantly blue colors can convey a sense of serenity. Have you noticed most seascapes exude tranquility and a sense of calm? They show either a blue expanse of sky or ocean. On the other hand, they can also express sadness.

Green – this color is usually linked to nature and it connotes freshness and growth. If you want to depict greed or envy in your images, this color is also most often used in the shot.

Red – the color of love and passion, the flipside is it is also used to signify hate or anger.

Aside from hue, the value of a color can also play an important role in triggering emotions. Value defines the lightness or darkness of a color. A photograph that has dark colors can invoke gloom or mystery while a shot that has mostly light or pastel colors can make the viewer feel peaceful.

Color saturation is another factor to consider when trying to create mood. Brighter colors exude energy and vibrancy. For instance, photos of parades and fiestas are usually full of color. You can almost feel the excitement when you look at images of people dancing in their colorful costumes. Muted colors express relaxation and peacefulness. It is very evident in most baby shots where the soft, muted colors work best to showcase the baby's delicate features especially in repose.

Colors can generate powerful emotions in the viewer but in order for you to fully get your image's message across, you must make sure the other photographic elements, such as balance and harmony, are not left alone.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 30th, 2010 at 11:00 am and is filed under Articles, Photography Basics, Photography Techniques, Photography Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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