Use of Colors in Landscape and Nature Photography

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While it’s something that we tend to overlook, color plays an important role in photography.

The right use of color can help to present your composition in a visually appealing manner. It can also have a dramatic impact on how you, and others, view the image. The colors in an image can help to convey emotion, set a scene, or highlight the main point of interest in an image; helping an image to feel alive, mysterious, somber, or even melancholic.

While you won’t have complete control over the colors in a scene, being aware of the impact that different colors have can help you to spot excellent color combinations when you see them. And knowing what to look for is an important part of capturing exciting and vibrant images. With this in mind, let’s take a look at color theory; and see the impact that colors can have on your landscape and nature images.

Color Theory

The color wheel is an illustrative organization of different colors in a circle. It’s designed to show the relationship between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, and more. Color theory involves using this wheel, to create a specific grouping of colors for an effect that’s visually and emotionally appealing.

While there are many groups of colors that could be considered harmonious, some work especially well together. Here’s a look at some of the main color combinations, and examples of how they work.

  • Analogous ColorsAnalogous colors are a series of colors that lie directly next to each other on the color wheel. This group of colors can consist of anywhere from two colors to on up to half the wheel. Consider a landscape such as a waterfall in the woods. The greens and blues would be a good example of an analogous color scheme.

  • Complementary ColorsComplementary colors are found directly across from each other on the color wheel. Warm-cool color combinations could often be considered complementary. For example, blue skies and warm orange tones of the sun being cast on a mountainside would be complementary.

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