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Reminder for Cee’s Compose Yourself: #16 Color Basics


To see the post for this two week period see, Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge:  #16 Color Basics.  For your assignment I would like to see at least 3 warm colored photos and 3 cool colored photos.  Please describe what you learned in this lesson as well.  Please describe what you learned in this lesson as well.

Note:  Participants who do not have at least 6 photos showing their attempt at this week’s topic in their post will not be featured nor be considered for the Gold Star Award.

To find out who was awarded the Gold Star Award and Features for Symmetry please see CCY Features Week #15 Cropping Tips.

Brief Essay

When I started putting this post together, Chris asked me what color had to with photo composition.  To her, color was just there.  You got what you saw.  That is true to a certain degree and in some cases you can’t control the color.  But as with all the other compositional tools that I am teaching in this challenge series, it’s nice to know the practicality of colors and some of the basic rules.

These compositional lessons are all part of your bag of tricks to take better photos.  If a trick doesn’t apply, don’t try.  Don’t try to force a rule that doesn’t apply, but do look for ways to bend the rule if that helps.  This is why we can break all the rules in photography and still have a stunning composition.

Which Colors are Warming and Which are Cooling

The color wheel below will give you a quick idea on which colors will give you that warm, cuddly feeling and which colors will make you want to put a jacket on.

color-wheel-warm-cool-1You see that the warm colors are red to yellow-green.  If you want to warm up a photo, add a little bit of orange or yellow to your photo.  You can do this with the white balance on most post-processing software.  You can even change your camera settings to help.  I usually wait until I do my post-processing because it all depends on the feeling I want from the photo once I decide to edit it.

Warm Colors

020816warm USCGThe warming colors also tend to energize you, especially the bright reds and oranges.  You want to keep those colors out of your bedroom.  The best places to use these colors are in your kitchens and dining rooms.  They would be good for classroom or art rooms as well.

Sepia (brown) tones fall on the warmer side of the color wheel.  Brown comes from the color orange.

Cool Colors

020816cool_2The cooler colors are in the range of the violets to dark green.  These colors tend to calm you down and are soothing. These are wonderful colors for your bedrooms, reading and meditation rooms.  Or any other place you really want to calm down.

Cooler colors tend to make your photo look sharper and clearer.

Black and white photography falls into the cooler category because black and silver actually fall into the blue color.  That is why black and white appears to crisper and more dramatic.

Upcoming Challenges

  • #17 Complementary Colors (starts 4th Wednesday of February)
  • #18 Contrasting Colors (starts 2nd Wednesday of March)
  • #21 Geometry (starts 4th Wednesday of March)
  • #20 Balance (starts 2nd Wednesday of April)

Qi (energy) hugs


6 replies »

  1. That slice of rock is amazing! I was thinking about getting out some of my stones for the smooth theme. I found a couple in my archives but my focus wasn’t great so I’m going to try again. Thank you for the reminder!


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